Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – A thoroughly dominant second-half performance sent the Mount Royal Cougars to an 88-59 win over the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades on Saturday evening.
The score was level at halftime, 41-41, but the Cougars outscored the host Cascades 47-18 after the break to salvage a weekend split at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre. UFV had won Friday's opener 86-80.
Mount Royal star Josh Ross, limited to 11 points on Friday, took charge in the rematch, racking up 25 points, 14 rebounds and six assists. Sukhman Sandhu, with 20 points and six boards, was the lone Cascade to score in double figures.
The Cougars squared their record at 2-2, while UFV fell to 1-3.
"I thought we competed a lot better tonight overall, and certainly that second half was a good showing by our guys," Mount Royal head coach Marc Dobell said afterward. "We had to tighten up defensively – we've been a little porous defensively, and I thought we did a much better job tonight. They hit some tough shots in the first half, but didn't make those shots in the second half which helped us pull away a little bit. And when you get some stops you're able to run and find some easy scores offensively."
Sandhu, the Cascades' 6'10" sophomore centre, was hot from downtown in the first half, going 4-for-8 from beyond the arc en route to 16 points at the break. Ross, though, also got rolling early, setting the tone for his team with 14 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
The Cougars opened the second half on a 9-0 run, highlighted by a couple of buckets in the paint from Ross, and they didn't look back from there, shooting 66.7 per cent from the field in the third quarter. The Cascades struggled on offence as well as defence, hitting just 25.9 per cent of their field goal attempts in the second half.
"We struggle mightily when adversity hits us," UFV head coach Adam Friesen said. "When it does, we haven't shown the ability to turn the momentum once we lose it. That's been unfortunate, and it's something we're forced to learn."
The Cascades hit the road next weekend to face the Regina Cougars, while Mount Royal faces the Lethbridge Pronghorns in a home-and-home set.