PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – The UBC Okanagan Heat men's basketball team fell by a final score of 85-59 on the road against the UNBC Tmberwolves in their first game back after the winter break in the Canada West schedule. The UNBC shooters were able to maintain their lead throughout the game, as their defenders made shooting difficult for the Heat all night long.
Trailing by nine at half-time, the Heat were unable to shut down the Timberwolves' shooters in the second half and UNBC's lead increased steadily throughout the final two quarters.
The first quarter saw neither team unable to build much of a lead, as it remained a one-possession game for the majority of the first ten minutes. The largest lead of the opening frame came with under 30 seconds left to play when a Jovan Leamy three-pointer made the score 16-10 for the Timberwolves, where it would stand at the buzzer.
In the second quarter UNBC maintained their lead, stretching it to 12 just two minutes in after another three, a layup, and a free throw. The Heat got on the board in the second with a Kyrin Cybenko and-one, before he made a layup to bring them within eight. Up 27-17 halfway through the frame, that's where the differential would stay until the buzzer. At the half it was 34-25 for the home side.
The Timberwolves put up an exceptional 28 points in the third quarter, to extend their lead to 19 heading into the final frame. In the final two minutes of the third the Heat were able to get on the board just once, with a Spencer Thomas layup providing their final points of the frame. Back-to-back made baskets from Tyrell Laing after that were followed by a pair of Jovan Leavy free-throws to close out the scoring in the third.
UNBC was scoring early in the fourth, extending their lead to 27 with about seven minutes left, ahead 72-45. An and-one from Triston Matthews came next for the Heat, but they were unable to further reduce the deficit before the five-minute mark. The UNBC shooters were able to respond to the Heat's scoring in the final minutes, and stretched their lead to 27 with just under three minutes to go. At the final buzzer the home side's lead sat at 26, with Philip Okanlawon provided the final Heat points on a layup.
Aldrich Berrios with some thoughts after the game:
The Heat battled hard in the fourth quarter, with Aldrich Berrios pushing the pace and knocking down some tough jumpers en route to a team-high 17 points.
"A lot of our shots weren't falling, and a lot of their shots were falling," said Berrios. "We hustled, but they played an all-round good game."
"There are always positives to take away. It's tough after a loss. We owned the offensive boards, we communicated nicely, and got everybody on the board. It's all about learning and getting better day by day."
Aldrich Berrios led the Heat in scoring once again, finishing the Friday night contest with 17 points. Triston Matthews finished behind him with 11, and Jacob Stokker was the other UBCO player in double-digits, with 10.
Kyrin Cybenko had a team-high 10 rebounds, and finished just a point shy of a double-double. Berrios had a team-high four steals, and tied for a team-high in assists with Cybenko.
Jovan Leavy led the Timberwolves' scorers Friday night, with a game-high 20 points, and was followed by Marcus McKay and Volodymur Pluzhnikov who each had 13. James Agyeman was the leading set-up man for the home team, finishing with four assists.
Leavy also led the way in rebounds, finishing with seven, and Daniel Stark had a team-high two steals.
By the Numbers:
The Timberwolves were the better shooting team in the game, hitting more from the field (55.4% - 35.3%), beyond the arc (46.4% - 16.7%), and from the free-throw line (90.9% - 50%). They were setting each other up much more efficiently as well, finishing with 17 assists to the Heat's 6.
Rebounds were 33-30 for UNBC, while the Heat finished with better numbers in steals (12-5) and in turnovers (9-14).
The UBC Okanagan Heat (2-9) and the UNBC Timberwolves (5-8) will play again tomorrow night, with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m. in Prince George.
~ Grayson B. Leahy – Heat Sports Information; with notes from Rich Abney, UNBC Athletics