The University of Fraser Valley Cascades used their three-point shooting to fuel a third quarter run and never looked back, beating the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves 87-72 on Friday in Prince George.
The visitors from the Fraser Valley looked the more inspired, energetic team in the early part of the first quarter as guard Vick Toor repeatedly sliced to the basket, scoring eight of UFV’s first ten points. They’d stretch the lead early, but Vova Pluzhnikov was a man on a mission himself, answering for the TWolves as the quarter would end in a 19-19 deadlock.
The second quarter was more of the same, as the Cascades used their ball movement to give the TWolves defence fits, with a variety of benefactors, including Jaskarn Bajwa and Sukhraj Bains. Tyrell Laing would do some heavy lifting offensively for the home side, getting to the rim and drawing contact on a number of occasions. After 20 minutes, it was a 46-42 lead for the Cascades.
The third quarter was the story of the game, as UFV came out flying. Sukhjot Bains, Vlad Mihaila, and elite long-range marksman Parm Bains all made treys in the first few minutes, while nothing would go for the TWolves. It resulted in a 10-0 run to start the half, and the Cascades would not relinquish the lead the rest of the way. Anthony Hokanson, along with Pluzhnikov and Laing, would look to answer late in the quarter, drawing the deficit to 12 to end the frame, but that was as close as they’d come.
“We came out soft defensively, and they went on a run,” said Pluzhnikov. “They capitalized on our weaknesses. On the offensive end, we couldn’t score for a little bit. That was the difference in the game.”
When the final buzzer sounded, the Cascades had earned an 87-72 win over the Timberwolves, to improve their record to 5-6, while UNBC fell to 4-7.
“We had a ten point lead in the first quarter and we gave it away, so we were mad about that,” said UFV’s Toor. “We came out on a 10-0 run, so we answered really well and held that lead from there.”
Six Cascades scored in double figures, led by a 14 point, nine assist effort from Toor, and a 12 point, nine rebound game from Sukhjot Bains. Others reaching double digits were Parm Bains, Matt Cooley, Bajwa, and Sukhraj Bains.
“It’s hard to defend those guys. You have to focus for the entire game,” said Pluzhnikov of UFV’s attack. “You have to be aware of who you’re defending, who is behind you, who is in front of you. There are a lot of details, but it is definitely hard to play against five shooters.”
UNBC was led by a massive effort from Vova Pluzhnikov, who had 27 points, nine rebounds, and five assists Tyrell Laing added 18 points, five boards, and four assists, while freshman Fareed Shittu had six points and nine rebounds off the bench, and Saymon Loki had a career high 10 points.
“We were focusing on defence, and we were looking for their zone,” said Toor, postgame. “We knew who their main guys were, and we needed to focus on them. Maybe tomorrow we will do better on them.”