Braedan Willis, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA- The University of Victoria Vikes men's basketball team narrowly defeated the Fraser Valley Cascades 78-75 at the CARSA Performance Gym in Victoria in a game that went down to the wire.
Down three points with 10 seconds remaining and the ball in the hands of Cascade sharp shooter Parm Bains, Fraser Valley wasn't able to force overtime after two attempts from Bains bounced off the rim and out. The win improves the Vikes record to 6-8 as they continue to jockey for a playoff position in the Canada West conference.
"It feels great," said fifth-year Vike Jake Newman. "We have been in a lot of close games recently and it has come down the last couple of possessions. A few times we didn't come out on top and it was a little disheartening but tonight we stuck with it, kept grinding and pulled out the win."
Despite the loss Fraser Valley still sits near the top of the conference standings with an 11-5 record on the season
"It was a really exciting game out on the court today," commented Fraser Valley head coach Adam Friesen. "Unfortunately we came out on the short end but it was a great opportunity for our guys to learn what feels like being in a tight game heading into the playoffs in a few weeks."
After two tightly contested quarters of play, Fraser Valley held a narrow 43-41 lead at halftime thanks in large part to the three point shooting of the Bains. The fourth-year was 5-for-8 from beyond the arch and tallied a total of 19 points through the opening two quarters. The Cascades also had 21 of their first half points come off the bench. Newman and Jordan Charles each led the Vikes in scoring with 10 points.
Much like the opening two quarters, the Vikes and Cascades continued to trade the lead with Fraser Valley still holding a slim 51-48 lead at the half way mark of the third frame. Back-to-back trips to the free throw line for Charles kept Victoria within striking distance of Fraser Valley. The second foul on Charles put the Vikes in the penalty situation for the remaining 3:30 left in the third allowing them to tie the game at 57-57 by the end of the quarter.
Three minutes into the final quarter, Fraser Valley was able to open up a 67-59 lead over the Vikes after a sequence of Victoria fouls combined with successful free throw attempts by the Cascades. After holding Bains scoreless in the third, the visitors began to enjoy some much needed run support from the likes of Vick Toor and Sukhjot Bains. Now down six, Charles sparked his team with a three from the corner to pull the Vikes back to within three points with just under four minutes remaining in the game. A missed free throw from Kellum turned out in the Vikes favour when Jake Newman pounced on the rebound, dropped his shot for two and sank his extra shot all to give the Vikes a one point lead, 72-71 late in the fourth. Seconds later, Newman put up two more for Victoria to put his team up 74-71.
"That was the craziest fourth quarter I have ever seen from him," Charles commented, referring to the play of his teammate Newman. "That guy was gritty. He led the charge that whole fourth quarter and that's like the fifth-year mentality that he brought. I remember that guy in high school and he never stopped hustling."
However, UFV answered quickly to take back the lead by one thanks to a nice move and finish by Bains. The home side seized back the lead after a pair of free throws made by Aaron Tesfagiorgis and yet another basket from Newman. With 10 seconds remaining and the ball in the Cascades possession, Bains managed two three point shots to try and tie the game but could not get either to fall. The final score read 78-75 in favour of the Vikes.
Next week the Cascades will enjoy a bye while the Vikes travel to Lethbridge to play the Pronghorns. All games can be watched live on at canadawest.TV
1 2 3 4: F
VIC: 16 25 16 21: 78
UFV: 15 28 14 18: 75
VIC: Jake Newman (23), Jordan Charles (21), Scott Kellum (10)
UFV: Parm Bains (24), Vick Toor (17), Sukhjot Bains (16)