Fraser Valley Bandits defeated the Newfoundland Growlers 88-81 Tuesday, July 5, to improve their record to 9-4.
Player of the game for the Bandits was Malcolm Duvivier, who came off the bench to drop 17 points on 7-of-8 from the field, while also grabbing four rebounds.
“I think in the first half we were playing a little more of a half-court game, and that was kind of going to their type of game, and in the second half we got into transition and that started to open up the floor. We kept attacking and it started going our way,” Duvivier said.
Bandits began with five points from James Karnik and a Shane Gibson jumper to push out to a 7-2 lead. The Growlers subbed in newcomer Blake Francis and he immediately knocked down a three which sparked the Growlers’ offence to help stage an early lead entering the second frame.
Duvivier started the second quarter with five points of his own to cut the deficit to one but the Growlers had an answer. Sampson continued his offensive performance by facilitating and taking his opportunities when provided. Terry Thomas provided energy and key baskets to support the Growlers’ early outburst. Newfoundland pushed out to their largest lead, 34-25 with 5:18 remaining in the second quarter.
Fraser Valley did not let the deficit get to double-digits as Klassen made a floater that cued a 14-6 second quarter scoring run for the Bandits.
Alex Campbell and Karnik were the primary contributors with Klassen setting up many of their opportunities.
Sampson had 14 points at halftime and Francis followed with 10 points on 50 per cent shooting. Newfoundland led the Bandits 40-39 going into the break.
After a first half of runs, Karnik and Sampson sparked a back-and-forth third quarter. Neither team was able to go on a big run as the lead changed four times in the first five minutes from Newfoundland’s lead at the half. At the end of the third quarter, the Bandits led 67-60.
Fraser Valley started the fourth quarter with five quick points from Gibson to push their lead to 12 but a trio of threes from Newfoundland cut the deficit back to three with 7:20 remaining in the fourth. Going into Elam time, Fraser Valley held a 78-73 lead over the Growlers with the target score set to 87.
Sampson started the scoring in Elam to cut the differential to three, but Karnik got a dish from Campbell to put it back to five points, 80-75. The Growlers were able to respond to Bandits runs throughout the game but the shot-making ability of Gibson put the Bandits within four points of victory with the Growlers 12 away.
It was a lead that would prove too large to overcome. Gibson scored five straight points, including an acrobatic lay-up in traffic to secure the win for Fraser Valley.
Leading scorer for the Bandits was Gibson who finished with 25 points, five rebounds and two steals. Karnik shot 72 per cent from the field to finish with 18 points and six rebounds.
Next up, Ottawa for the second leg of their three-game road swing.
Fraser Valley takes on the BlackJacks on Friday, July 8, followed by Montreal on Monday, July 11.
Bandits will return to Langley Events Centre for a two-game homestand against the Guelph Nighthawks on Friday, July 15 and the Ottawa BlackJacks on Sunday, July 17.
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