Winnipeg – The University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team made a furious fourth-quarter comeback to force overtime, but the host Manitoba Bisons pulled away in the extra session to win 77-72 and end the Cascades’ season.
UFV trailed 64-52 with less than five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter at the Investors Group Athletic Centre, but ended regulation time on a 12-0 run. A pair of Kevon Parchment jumpers bookended eight straight points from Nate Brown to send the game to OT tied 64-64.
The Bisons built a five-point lead in the extra session, but the Cascades clawed their way back once again – Parchment hit a tough contested shot on the fast break to cut the deficit to 73-72 with 34 seconds left.
But on the ensuing possession, Manitoba guard Ilarion Bonhomme drilled a three-pointer from the left wing with 12 seconds remaining to make it a two-possession game, effectively punching his team’s ticket to the Canada West Final Four.
The Bisons, coming off a 78-59 win in Thursday’s Game 1, swept the best-of-three Canada West quarter-final series and denied the Cascades a fifth straight trip to the conference Final Four. It was Manitoba’s first playoff series win since 2001.
“I’m really happy with the guys today – we bounced back with an incredible effort,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said. “We played tougher, we played more competitively, and sometimes you lose close ones.”
Coming off Thursday night’s decisive loss, the Cascades had a much better start on Friday. They led by as many as eight points in the first quarter, and maintained the lead for much of the second.
The Bisons, though, seized control late in the frame, going on an 8-0 run to take a 38-34 advantage into halftime.
The hosts stretched the lead as high as 13 points in the third quarter, and kept the Cascades at bay for much of the fourth until Brown caught fire. The 6’6” fourth-year power forward from Fresno, Calif. hit four straight shots to help UFV trim the deficit to 64-62.
Parchment capped the comeback with five seconds left in regulation, pulling up from the foul line and swishing a jumper to knot the score. The fifth-year guard was just as good on the ensuing Manitoba possession, forcing Keith Omeorah into a long contested jumper that clanged harmlessly off the rim at the buzzer.
But the Cascades’ offence came up empty over the first half of the five-minute OT period, and while they mounted another rally, Bonhomme’s trey iced the game for the Bisons.
“Late in the game we got some really key defensive stops,” Manitoba head coach Kirby Schepp said. “They couldn’t get great looks because our guys really played solid D down the stretch.”
In what turned out to be the final game of his distinguished university career, Parchment led the Cascades with 21 points and added nine rebounds, five steals, two assists and one block. Brown finished with 19 points and 10 boards, and Manny Dulay chipped in with 10 points.
Justus Alleyn posted a game-high 23 points for the Bisons, who also got 16 points from AJ Basi and 12 points from Brett Jewell.
“Kevon went out like he came in – working as hard as he could on every possession and making big plays in every facet of the game when we needed him,” Friesen said.
– with files from David Koroma, Manitoba Bisons communications