Abbortsford - A big night from Shane Osayande and a dominant performance on the boards paved the way for the Saskatchewan Huskies to knock off the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades 78-62 in Canada West men's basketball action on Saturday evening.
Osayande, fourth-year forward from Toronto, racked up 30 points and 18 rebounds – both game highs – and the Huskies out-rebounded the Cascades 51-28 en route to victory.
Manny Dulay notched 20 points for the hosts, who trailed by 20 points in the second quarter but battled back to within three points early in the fourth. The Huskies, though, pulled away down the stretch thanks to some clutch shooting from Osayande and Alex Unruh, who scored 15 off the bench.
Both teams emerge from the weekend with a 1-1 record, the Cascades having prevailed 59-50 in Friday's opener at the Envision Athletic Centre.
"I think offensively, our best stretch today was better than our best stretch yesterday," UFV head coach Adam Friesen reasoned. "I think we're still finding ourselves offensively, how we have to play. Our big weakness is physicality and being undersized, and battling on the rebounds. Yesterday we did a good job of that, and today our foot was off the gas a bit, and they took advantage of it a lot. If we can learn from that, it's going to be a good weekend for us."
The Cascades had beaten the taller Huskies 48-39 in the rebounding department on Friday, but Saskatchewan turned the tables in the rematch and built a 40-20 lead midway through the second quarter. UFV ended the frame on an 11-2 run, with Dulay scoring six points and Anthony Gilchrist notching five during that stretch, to cut the deficit to 42-31 at the break.
The Huskies got the lead back up to 18 in the third quarter, but the Cascades heated up at that point, outscoring the visitors 27-12 over a 10-minute stretch bridging the third and fourth quarters. After a Vijay Dhillon three-pointer and a Gilchrist layup, Saskatchewan's lead was 62-59 with 6:34 left in regulation.
But Unruh answered with a three-pointer and a tough driving layup on consecutive possessions to get the lead back up to eight, and the Cascades would muster just three more points the rest of the way.
Gilchrist (13 points off the bench) and Dhillon (10 points) also scored in double figures for the Cascades, who shot 36.2 per cent from the field to Sask's 41.5.
"Yesterday too, our fourth-quarter offence wasn't good," Friesen said. "We just have to learn that if we don't play aggressive, if we don't move the basketball and make people have to chase us, we're not a big, strong, overly athletic team. If we slow down and get passive, any advantage we might have probably goes away. I think that happened both fourth quarters this weekend."
Up next for the Cascades is a home-and-home set next weekend against their local rivals, the Trinity Western Spartans – Friday at the EAC (8 p.m.) and Saturday at the Langley Events Centre (6 p.m.). The Huskies host the Winnipeg Wesmen next Friday and Saturday in their home openers.