Seven lead changes amounts to nail-biter between Explorer division foes. Rematch tomorrow gives Heat opportunity to pull even in season series.
Men's Basketball (Canada West conference play)
|Mount Royal (5-6)||20||10||32||21||74|
|UBC Okanagan (2-9)||9||20||17||12||69|
KELOWNA, B.C. – Two very alike teams statistically played out a show at UBC Okanagan Friday night but the men’s basketball squad from Mount Royal was lifted late by a sharpshooting Noah Lewis as the hometown Heat fell 74-69.
Most of the stat sheet was once again fairly similar, but the Cougars were able to make just those couple of extra baskets where it counted most down the stretch of a back-and-forth fourth quarter to claim victory.
Lewis, a third-year guard, buried three of his five three-balls down the most important stretch of the fourth quarter to catch up and eventually stay the Heat from catching back up. He would hit his last with 2:36 remaining to put his team back up by five, and the game’s leading scorer in fourth-year James Lefebrve would land a lay-up thirty seconds later to give enough cushion the rest of the way.
The Heat’s rookie Noma Obaseki from East Vancouver, but finished high school in Calgary, had a standout game, scoring 12 points (4-9 FG) and collecting six rebounds while going 4-5 from the free-throw line in 24 minutes en route to Heat Player of the Game honours.
The first quarter opened perilously for the home team, who was playing for the first time since the December break on home court. The Heat struggled to score and were down 20-9 heading into the second quarter.
The Heat would get their revenge in the second period as they held the Cougars scoreless until four and a half minutes in. It was an ensemble effort by the home squad as they came back to seize a 39-30 lead heading into half backed by their 30-10 second quarter win.
The third would be won this time by the Cougars, who pulled even 51-51 heading into the final ten minutes of play behind a strong charge by Lefebvre, who scored nine points in that period.
The fourth would be filled with drama down the final few moments. Down 68-65 with 3:35 to play, Obaseki would drive to the rim and proceed to collect four straight offensive rebounds before finally sinking the hoop and collecting the harm, upon which he would convert for the three-point play to get his team going. It was moments later, however, that Lewis nailed his final dagger in the coffin.
Not ones to give up, the Heat’s Aldrich Berrios sunk a fade-away prayer of a three-ball with 50 seconds to go to make it a four point game, but ultimately neither team could manage another field goal.
Lefebvre led all scorers with 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Awet Abraha and Manok Akwl joined he and Lewis in double-digits with 15 and 11, respectively. Awl also dished out a game-high five assists.
Berrios led the Heat with 15 points while grabbing six boards, dishing out three assists and picking up three steals. Third-year Mitch Goodwin rounded out the top scorers for the Heat alongside both Berrios and Obaseki with 11 points of his own to go with a game-high nine rebounds.
The Heat were an excellent 82.4% from the free-throw line tonight, but were outshot by the Cougars in the field 43.3% to 37.5%.
The Cougars improve to 5-6 while the Heat move to 2-9 for the season. Both teams will meet again for the last time Saturday night with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m. at the UBC Okanagan gymnasium.
The Saturday matchup will be the UBC Okanagan Shoot for the Cure game. The CIS has raised over $761,309.12 ($633,303.89 to CBCF) since 2007.
Watch the action from home online and view live stats at canadawest.tv.