For the first time in their six-year CIS tenure, the University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team will have home-court advantage for the first round of the playoffs.
The Cascades, ranked No. 5 in the nation, locked up the right to host a Canada West quarter-final series by virtue of an 89-70 road win over the Trinity Western Spartans on Thursday evening at the Langley Events Centre.
UFV held a slim 39-38 lead at halftime, but broke the game open in the third quarter, out-scoring the Spartans 32-13 in the frame.
Sam Freeman led the Cascades’ balanced attack with 19 points, while Kyle Grewal (16 points), Joel Friesen (15), Mike James (11) and Jasper Moedt (10) also scored in double figures.
The Spartans were paced by Calvin Westbrook’s 15 points.
“I was very happy with the defensive effort in the third quarter,” Cascades head coach Barnaby Craddock said. “The guys set a goal at the beginning of the season, to host a playoffs, and they should be happy to have earned it.
“Now we have a couple weeks to get healthy and prepare for some very difficult playoff games.”
UFV wraps up the regular season with a 13-5 record, which leaves them in second place in the crowded Pacific Division standings, trailing UVic (13-3) and ahead of UBC (12-4). The top two teams in the division will open the playoffs at home.
But UVic and UBC finish the regular season playing each other a home-and-home series. One of those two teams will finish first in the Pacific, while the other will end up with at least five losses. The Cascades would own the tiebreaker on either team, which assures them of second place.
The UFV men will host the third-place finisher from the Prairie Division in a best-of-three series at the Envision Athletic Centre, Feb. 23-25. Lethbridge (9-9), Calgary (8-10) and Manitoba (8-10) are in the hunt for that seeding.