KELOWNA, B.C. – The UBC Okanagan Heat men's basketball team fought a tough contest against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies on Saturday night, resulting in a 73-49 loss.
Leading by a point after one, the Heat were behind by five at half-time, and by five still after the third.
It was in the fourth that the Huskies pulled away, though, keeping the Heat from scoring for nearly six full minutes through the middle of the quarter. They outscored the Heat 29-10 in the final frame, closing out a weekend sweep with a strong finish, controlling the last-ten-minutes to seel the win.
The Heat and Huskies traded leads during the first half of a closely-contested first quarter, as neither pulled ahead by more than a possession until 3:53, when the Heat went up five thanks to a three from Aldrich Berrios. Saskatchewan kept it close, though, cutting the lead to one on a Devin Wittow layup with just five seconds left. Heading into the second the Heat were up 13-12.
The second quarter was just as tight as the first through its early stages, with the Huskies tying it up twice in the third minute of play. Saskatchewan then rallied to take the lead back in the latter minutes of the second, going up five, 28-23, with two minutes left to go. Shooting stats were 37.5%-30.3% from the field for the Huskies, and 41.7%-0% from long range for the Heat, as the visitors took a 30-25 lead into half-time.
The first double-digit lead of the game came at the 7:06 mark of the third quarter, after the Huskies hit back-to-back threes from Emmanuel Akintunde and Addison Dewar to go up 38-27. The Heat cut the lead to just five by the end of the third, with another three from Berrios just before the buzzer.
Two three-pointers in a minute were followed by a layup for the Huskies shortly before the midway point of the fourth, as they earned their largest lead of the night, 61-46, at 5:11. From then on it was all Saskatchewan offence, as they continued to score consistently while keeping the Heat off the board from 7:17 until Patrick Dujmovic netted a three with 1:20 left to play. That was the lone Heat basket of the final minutes, as the buzzer went with the visitors up 73-49.
Philip Okanlawon was the high scorer for the Heat on Saturday night, netting 11 points. Behind him were Justin Melnychuk (10) and Aldrich Berrios (9). Berrios was the leader in assists (4) and rebounds (14) in the game.
Lawrence Moore had a game-high 20 points for the Huskies, followed by Joseph Barker (12) and Addison Dewar (11). Barker finished with 13 rebounds for the double-double, and Emmanuel Akintunde had 11 boards.
Moore also added a pair of team-highs, with five steals and five assists.
By the Numbers:
The Heat had the edge in three-point percentage Saturday night (34.8% - 26.1%), but the Huskies were better from the floor (41.2% - 30.3%) and from the free-throw line (61.1% - 50%).
Rebounds were 48-39, assists were 12-11, and steals were 14-4, all in Saskatchewan's favour.
The UBC Okanagan Heat (2-12) will be in Calgary next weekend to take on the Dinos (10-3) on January 19 & 20.
The University of Saskatchewan Huskies (5-9) will have a pair of home games next, against the Trinity Western University Spartans (1-12) on January 19 & 20.
~ Grayson B. Leahy, Heat Sports Information