The UNBC Timberwolves used a strong second half to secure a convincing 88-67 win over the Fraser Valley Cascades, earning a weekend split on Saturday in Abbotsford.
In the early parts of the game, it was the Cascades finding more success offensively, led by fifth-year Courtenay Anderson who scored a quick six points to establish a 12-6 advantage for UFV. Offensively, the Timberwolves struggled to find their rhythm, opening the game 2-for-13 from the field, including some good looks in the paint. After ten minutes, Fraser Valley held a 16-12 lead.
In the second quarter, UNBC captain Chris Ross got to the line after a tough and-one finish, and coming up with a big block on Anderson at the defensive end to cut the deficit to two points. The Timberwolves gained the lead thanks to first-year Evgeni Baukin who came off the bench and hammered a poster dunk before making a three in back-to-back possessions. A Fareed Shittu three and Micah Jessie jumper gave UNBC the 39-32 cushion at the half.
The 27-16 second quarter was fuelled by Baukin, who had nine points in the frame. Anderson led all scorers, with 10 points for the Cascades.
UNBC came out intentionally in the third quarter, looking to clamp down on the UFV attack and score in transition. Micah Jessie earned a pair of buckets at the rim, and Ross continued to prove why he is one of the premier defenders in the conference, as the T-wolves stretched their lead to a dozen points.
Dhivaan Bhogal chipped away with a pair of layups for the Cascades, as Joe Enevoldson’s team refused to go away on their home court. Jessie continued to put his imprint on the game with a tough finish, but the lead hovered around 10 points for much of the stanza. However, UNBC used a big shot from Dylon Matthews and more strong play from Jessie to hold a 64-48 lead with one quarter to play.
Bhogal was aggressive early in the fourth quarter, continuing to cause UNBC some issues under the hoop, but every time the Cascades scored, the Timberwolves answered. Spencer Ledoux, who had been on the bench with foul issues in the first half, got to his spot for a signature hook shot, while Matthews made another three-pointer to re-establish the advantage.
UNBC continued to fire away from beyond the arc as Ross made a pair of triples, before first-year guard Justin Sunga made one of his own to stretch the lead to 24. From there, the Timberwolves held off the Cascades and earned a well-deserved 88-67 victory.
The Timberwolves forced the Cascades into 25 turnovers, while only coughing it up 12 times, leading to a 28-13 advantage in points off turnovers.
Jessie led the T-wolves with 19 points, to go along with five assists and four rebounds, while Ross had 18 points, six rebounds, and four steals. Ledoux added 14 points, and the freshman duo of Baukin and Sunga each scored nine off the bench.
Bhogal registered a double-double for the second consecutive night, scoring 17 points and grabbing 10 boards. Anderson had 15 points, but shot 7-for-19 to get to that total. Finally, Dario Lopex had 10 points and seven rebounds for UFV.
With the win, UNBC improved to 3-3, while the Cascades slide to the same mark. The Timberwolves will play host to the Calgary Dinos next weekend in Prince George.