This weekend, fans were given quite the matchup when the Alberta Golden Bears came to take on the UFV Cascades in back-to-back games. The men’s team had quite a back-and-forth weekend, full of ups and downs but never lacking in action.
UFV’s #9 Andrew Morris made the first basket of the game by overpowering his defender, but The Golden Bears’ speed was something to behold as Golden Bears #2 Tyus Jefferson ran the point and their wing players used both the fast break and screens to get open and shoot. The Cascades slow start wasn’t so concerning, but the Golden Bears’ offence was.
Down 14 points, heading into the second quarter, Alberta refused to slow down. UFV called a timeout when the score was 32-12, a tough break for the Cascades who were down 20. By the time Alberta called their second timeout of the quarter, the lead was 25 points and the Golden Bears were switching and rotating so well, UFV wound up going 0-15 from the three-point line in the first half. The game really got out of control when Golden Bears #14 Brody Clarke completed a poster dunk.
The score at the half was 50-25 for Alberta.
Though the first half was rough it wasn’t all bad for the Cascades. Andrew Morris went 4-6 from the field and Vick Toor was a noticeable force for the Cascades going 4-9 and providing some needed hustle for the team. However, the team would need to shoot much better if they had any plans of getting back in the game.
The third quarter was more of the same, and when the Cascades called timeout with a score of 63-32, it wasn’t looking good for UFV. As the game went on, the physicality increased between the teams, as did the score. It wouldn’t be enough however, as Alberta didn’t go a quarter without scoring at least 24 points, and beat the Cascades by a whopping 30-point margin. With the game score at 99-69 for the Golden Bears, it was evident UFV needed a new approach going into Saturday’s rematch.
That rematch signaled the turning point for UFV. With arguably the team’s most vicious offensive player Sukhjot Bains back in the lineup after sitting out Friday due to injury, the team was completely changed. When Alberta called the first timeout of the game, the score read 7-0 for UFV. At that point it became apparent the Golden Bears weren’t perfect; the Cascades had a shot.
UFV head coach Adam Friesen coached with a combination of captivating rage and passion, demanding his players take the Golden Bears low and use their size to their advantage. Coach Friesen was right, and UFV rose to the call. The Cascades led after the first quarter 22-12 and just like that, the game was wide open.
The second quarter saw UFV’s offence slow slightly, and Alberta began to pick up their scoring. Coach Friesen was having none of it, calling for less turnovers and more rebounding. The Cascades outscored the Golden Bears, but only by two points. Despite the surge from the Golden Bears, UFV shot a remarkable 57.1 per cent from the field and 53.8 per cent from distance in the first half. Going into the second half, one question remained: could the Cascades keep up their level of play, and upset the fifth-ranked Golden Bears?
The third quarter went well for the Cascades, who outscored the Golden Bears yet again, but turnovers by UFV kept Alberta in the game. The fourth quarter saw the lead reduced for UFV by a push from Alberta to make the score even. The Cascades stuck together through the Golden Bears’ surge, and upon a clutch offensive rebound from Andrew Morris, they went on to complete the upset as UFV beat Alberta by a score of 80-73.
The Cascades will look to ride the momentum of their big win when they go on the road to face the MacEwan Griffins this weekend.
Image: UFV Cascades/Flickr