Mathematically speaking, Saturday’s road game against the Winnipeg Wesmen wasn’t necessarily a must-win for the University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team.
But in practical terms, it was a game the Cascades simply had to have. Just 24 hours earlier, the last-place Wesmen had dealt UFV an 88-73 defeat to relegate the Cascades to ninth place in Canada West (top eight make the playoffs).
While UFV (7-13) remained in ninth in the wake of Saturday’s 75-68 triumph – eight-place Calgary (8-12) swept two games against seventh-place Manitoba (9-11) on the weekend – the clutch victory means the Cascades’ playoff goal is much more realistic.
“It definitely was a must-win,” Cascades coach Barnaby Craddock acknowledged. “If we couldn’t get the W on Saturday, I just didn’t know if we’d be playing good enough basketball (to make the playoffs).”
UFV guard Joel Friesen came up big, with 24 points on 8-for-11 shooting, including a trio of three-pointers. Zeon Gray (18 points) and Sam Freeman (14) also hit double figures.
The Cascades wrap up the regular season on the road at Lethbridge (Feb. 11-12) and at home against Brandon (Feb. 18-19). Both teams are below UFV in the standings.
“Basically, it’s playoff time for us,” noted Craddock, who figures his team will need at least three wins in the final four games to sneak into the post-season.