Malcolm Duvivier and the Fraser Valley Bandits cruised to a 104-81 win over the Niagara River Lions on Tuesday. (Fraser Valley Bandits photo)

Malcolm Duvivier and the Fraser Valley Bandits cruised to a 104-81 win over the Niagara River Lions on Tuesday. (Fraser Valley Bandits photo)

Fraser Valley Bandits tame River Lions to improve to 2-0

Abbotsford-based basketball team defeats Niagara River Lions 104-81 on Tuesday night

The Fraser Valley Bandits offence was almost as hot as the sweltering Abbotsford weather this week.

The Canadian Elite Basketball League club shot a red-hot 57 per cent from the field at the Abbotsford Centre on Tuesday, en route to a 104-81 win over the Niagara River Lions.

Fraser Valley set the pace early, jumping out to an 11-2 lead and never really looked back. They lead 34-21 after one and 60-40 at the half.

Niagara made a few runs in the second half but only closed the gap to as close as 11 points. Shaquille Keith scored the game-winning shot in the Elam Ending.

Yale Secondary grad Marek Klassen led the Bandits with 21 points, and hit five-of-seven shots from the three-point line. Alex Campbell added 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Kenny Manigault was all over the place, especially in the second half, with 15 points, six rebounds and six assists.

Niagara was led by Xaiver Sneed, who collected a game-high 35 points.

Despite the win, fouls and turnovers could eventually become an issue for the Bandits. Big man Brandon Gilbeck got into foul trouble and was forced to sit on the bench late in the game after collecting four fouls. Despite limited minutes, Gilbeck still had 10 points, five rebounds and five blocks.

The Bandits also committed 22 turnovers in the game, a number that head coach David Singleton is likely not thrilled with. Points in the paint were again a strength for the club, as they scored 52 points in that manner.

Klassen said after the game that this win sets up the Bandits for a great early-season run.

“This builds up our confidence for our next two games, which are on Thursday and Saturday,” he said. “It gives us strength and confidence for this next string of games.”

He added that he believes, as long as the Bandits focus on the things they do well, they can compete with any team in the CEBL.

Fraser Valley next hosts the Saskatchewan Rattlers on Thursday (July 1) at 2 p.m. The club then welcomes the Ottawa Blackjacks to the Abbotsford Centre on Saturday. Tip-off for that game is 4 p.m.

RELATED: Fraser Valley Bandits open CEBL season with win

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