UFV men overcome eligibility violation to make playoffs

The University of the Fraser Valley men's basketball team is heading to the postseason after a weekend win over Trinity Western.

Dan Kinvig,

Black Press

 

After finding out their season was in peril on Friday morning, the University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team came out and took care of business in impressive fashion on Friday evening.

With their home-and-home set against the Trinity Western Spartans just hours away from tipping off, the Cascades players were informed that they’d been stripped of two victories due to the use of an ineligible player.

UFV and TWU had been tied with matching 11-9 records, both apparently assured of a post-season berth. All that was on the line was playoff seeding.

But with their record suddenly 9-11 after the forfeits, it was entirely possible for the Cascades men to miss the playoffs altogether. If they lost both weekend games to the red-hot Spartans (winners of six in a row coming in) and Thompson Rivers (8-13) beat UBC-Okanagan in their finale on Saturday, UFV’s season would be toast.

The Cascades responded in the face of adversity, though, winning 69-58 on Friday at the Envision Athletic Centre to punch their playoff ticket for a second time.

“It was a shock,” UFV shooting guard Sam Freeman said, speaking of his reaction to the eligibility violation. “The player that did it was rattled, of course, and they apologized and everything.

“But as a team, it didn’t really affect us, as you can see. We came out strong and took care of the business at hand.”

The Cascades put together a tremendous defensive effort Friday, limiting the Spartans to 33.9 per cent shooting from the floor. Only two TWU players, Tonner Jackson and Mark Perrin (10 points apiece), scored in double figures.

On the offensive end, UFV rode some red-hot outside shooting, hitting 11 of 23 attempts from beyond the arc (47.8 per cent). Freeman led the barrage, going 5-for-6 on triples en route to a game-high 32 points. He also snared 10 rebounds on a night where he and fellow seniors Kyle Grewal and James York were honoured in a pregame ceremony.

The details of UFV’s eligibility violation are still murky. The athletic department has declined to name the player involved or clarify the precise infraction, though the player in question was apparently eligible (and playing) in January before his eligibility lapsed in February and is now eligible once again.

A press release is expected on Monday, but it’s not expected to shed much more light on the subject.

UFV head coach Adam Friesen said he was “really proud” of how his players responded.

“The team reacted really maturely about the situation,” he said. “They took in the information, they asked questions and got informed.

“They had the mindset to take care of what they needed to take care of.”

Friday’s win meant the Cascades had a shot at catching the Spartans for the No. 3 seed in the Pacific Division, but they ran out of gas in the fourth quarter on Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.

UFV led by five heading into the final frame, but TWU out-scored them 23-5 the rest of the way and won 74-61.

The defeat sets up a first-round playoff match-up between the Cascades and the Saskatchewan Huskies (16-6), the top seed in the Prairie Division. UFV travels to Saskatoon for a best-of-three series beginning Friday.

The Huskies beat the Cascades 90-82 in Abbotsford on Jan. 11, but UFV was missing star power forward Kyle Grewal in that game.

“They’re a really good team,” Friesen noted. “We’re looking forward to another shot at them with a full roster.”

Just Posted

Chilliwack man feeling helpless about puppy stolen while at church

Evidence of neighbour trespassing and accusing him of dog neglect not enough for RCMP

RCMP ask for help to locate missing Chilliwack man

Kyle Travis Neil travelling in a red, Ford F250 and he maybe be in need of medical attention

UPDATED: Chilliwack councillor’s expenses being sent to the RCMP

Decision to have expenses audited and shared with RCMP taken at special meeting of council

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in B.C. exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

B.C. man who left hospice to run in upcoming election dies

A week after leaving hospice to go to city hall to declare his candidacy, David Hesketh has died.

Tilray Inc sees $10-billion in market cap go up in smoke

Tilray’s share price closed at $123 US on Friday, a decline from its intraday peak of nearly $300 US earlier in the week

Breast density to be included in mammogram results across B.C.

The information is crucial in proactively reducing the risk of breast cancer, doctors say

Canada to boost support for riskier forms of renewable energy: minister

A $30-million contribution to a $117-million tidal project hopes to harness the immense power of the Bay of Fundy

B.C. watching Trans Mountain review, George Heyman says

Court decision stalling pipeline ‘validates’ environmental concerns

Most Read