First Choice Savings Centre, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, AB
|Score by Periods||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||Total|
|UBC Okanagan||17||17||20||22||76||Record: (0-7)|
LETHBRIDGE, AB – The 1st Choice Savings Centre in Lethbridge proved to be favourable to Heat shooters as the team hit on 15-30 from long distance Friday night. However, the Lethbridge Pronghorn men’s basketball team did just enough to hold off the UBC Okanagan Heat 81-76, as the Heat still search for their first win.
“It was a great effort on the road,” says Heat men’s basketball coach Pete Guarsaci after his first trip to the southern Alberta city as head coach. “Lethbridge is a very tough place to play and I thought we played great,” continued Guarsaci.
Landry Nadyitwayeko (5th year, guard, Windsor, ON) kept the Heat within striking distance in the second half, scoring a game high 26 points on a smoldering 9 of 11 from the field, including an amazing stretch where he missed just once from behind the arc on eight shots.
“Landry came up big and played great,” Guarasci added.
Four Heat players reached double figures in scoring Friday night. Along with Ndayitwayeko, guards: Mitch Goodwin (2nd year, Kelowna, BC) and Yassine Ghomari (5th year, Vancouver, BC) each had 16 points, and James Lum (3rd year, Vancouver, BC) tallied 13.
“We were more aggressive offensively then we ever have been before in the year,” Guarasci explained on his teams increase in efficiency on the offensive end.
“We weren’t necessarily attacking the rim, but we were taking good shots with our feet set, regardless of where the shot clock was,” he continued. “The team just started thinking with a scoring mentality,” finished the second year coach.
In a clash of styles, the ‘Horns wanted to push the pace up the court, while the Heat settled into more of a half court set and relied on shots from behind the arc and it nearly worked. The Heat shot 30 times from three point land and hit on exactly half of those shots, but the difference was the ‘Horns offensive rebounding and their ability to get second chance shots.
Lethbridge outrebounded UBC Okanagan 45-30 for the game, and grabbed 14 offensive rebounds compared to the Heat’s nine offensive boards. The leading rebounder for the Heat was fifth-year wing man Ed Dane Medi, playing out of position at the five for most of the game. He would nab eight boards in the losing effort.
The ‘Horns were led by a balanced attack with six players reaching double digits, including all five starters. Coming off the bench, Lethbridge were led by the energy of Austrailian Brandon Brine, who led the team with 18 points and eight rebounds. Post Brent Watkins chipped in with 13 points, while senior guard Morgan Duce recovered from a poor shooting first half and scored all 11 of his points in the second half to keep the ‘Horns on top.
Despite holding the lead from the mid-way point of the opening quarter until the final buzzer, the Pronghorns never felt comfortably ahead. After holding a slim leads of 21-17 and 41-34 after the first two quarters, the second half turned out to be a back and forth affair.
Every time Lethbridge tried to separate themselves from the Heat in the third quarter, the Heat would respond, coming down the floor and hitting a three. Ndayitwayeko and Goodwin were deadly from behind the arc in the third, Ndayitwayeko hit from beyond the arc on three consecutive rushes down the floor and cut the lead to a single point before the ‘Horns hit back-to-back shots to end the third with a five point cushion.
After Logan Reiter opened the fourth with a three of his own, the Heat were right back at it, this time with Goodwin coming down the floor and hitting consecutive three-pointers.
The ‘Horns finally went on a nine-point run to extend their lead to 11 and it looked like they would finally impose their will but the Heat would just not go away quietly, cutting the lead back to five, but that was as close as they would get.
With the win, the ‘Horns move back above the .500 mark at 4-3, while the Heat remain winless and drop to 0-7.
The ‘Horns will be back on home court tomorrow night, hosting the Thompson Rivers WolfPack at the 1st Choice Savings Centre, tip-off is set for 7 p.m. (Local time).
The Heat will go looking for their first win of the season in Calgary tomorrow night, facing the Calgary Dinos. Tip off at the Jack Simpson Gymnasium is at 6 p.m. (PST). Both games will be streamed live on http://canadawest.tv.
- with notes from Eoin Colquhoun (Sports Information & Events Coordinator. Pronghorn Athletics)