Poor free throw shooting proved costly for the University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team on Friday, as they fell 62-58 to Whitman College in exhibition action.
The Cascades hit just four of 14 attempts from the charity stripe, and that subpar shooting performance helped their NCAA Div. III guests to snatch a slender victory at the Envision Athletic Centre.
“Any chance we had to win went out the window there,” Cascades coach Barnaby Craddock analyzed. “They were a tough, scrappy team, and a lot more organized than we are at this time of the year.”
The Cascades led 49-48 early in the fourth quarter, but Whitman went on a 10-0 run that proved decisive. UFV made a late surge, as Joel Friesen hit a midrange jumper and James York drained a three-pointer to cut the deficit to 60-58, but they would get no closer.
Friesen paced the Cascades with 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while Jasper Moedt chipped in with 15 points and nine rebounds. Whitman’s Brandon Shaw and Josh Duckworth tied for team-high scoring honours with 14 points apiece.
“I was disappointed in the result and didn’t think we played our best, but I’m also optimistic to work with this group,” Craddock said. “We like the group of guys we have, and we’re certainly enthusiastic for the season.”
• Whitman, based out of Walla Walla, Wash., went 5-0 on a seven-day swing through B.C., also defeating Thompson Rivers University, UBC-Okanagan, UBC, and Vancouver Island University.
• The Cascades wrap up their three-game preseason series against NCAA foes on Friday, Sept. 9, when they host Santa Clara University. Tip-off is at 7 p.m., and the game will be preceded by a tailgate party at 5 p.m.
• Friday’s game marked Craddock’s return to the Cascades bench after serving as an assistant coach on Canada’s men’s basketball entry at the FISU World University Games in Shenzhen, China.
The Canadians turned in a terrific showing, coming home with a silver medal after falling to Serbia in the final.
“It was a credit to the level of basketball in the CIS,” Craddock said, noting that Canada finished ahead of such powerhouse basketball nations as the United States, Australia and Brazil in the 23-team draw. “It was too bad that we didn’t get gold, but under the circumstances, getting a medal was pretty fantastic.”