Five minutes makes all the difference in otherwise tightly contested matchup between valley foes.
Men's Basketball (Canada West conference play)
|Thompson Rivers (8-6)||16||17||28||19||80|
|UBC Okanagan (2-12)||19||15||8||18||60|
KELOWNA, B.C – Leading their valley rivals Thompson Rivers 34-33 out of the half, an extraordinary divide in the third quarter would create an insurmountable gap as the home town UBC Okanagan Heat men’s basketball team fell 80-60 Friday night.
The five-minute stretch opening the third quarter was the difference maker for the night, as the WolfPack rattled off an 20-0 run to create distance that would not be recovered despite trading equal blows for the other 35 minutes of play.
The Heat were strong out of the gate, storming up to a 19-16 lead after ten minutes, powered by a quartet of threes by Mitch Goodwin (Kelowna, BC), Ryan Morck (Airdrie, AB) and two for Rookie of the Year candidate Aldrich Berrios (Burnaby, BC). Goodwin also collected six of his game-high ten rebounds in the first frame.
The second-quarter saw similar hot shooting and coordinated defense for the Heat, who staved off any hopes of the Kamloops squad finding momentum as the home team maintained their lead 34-33 into the half.
A combination of a scoring drought and a lapse in defensive concentration saw the WolfPack go from down one to up 19 (53-34) run through the first five minutes of the third quarter before a jumper by Berrios would finally ease the bleeding slightly. Both teams would score exactly eight points each the rest of the period.
The teams traded blows again in the fourth as the Heat desperately tried to make headway to little avail. Thompson Rivers would win the final frame by a single point and ultimately the match by twenty after the five minute swing in the third became too much to overcome for the home squad.
The Heat’s Buzz Truss collected his team’s Player of the Game Honours with a team-high tying 13 points to go alongside five rebounds. The rookie has been a regular starter all season and made his biggest impact in the first half in a trio of fifteen foot jumpers down the left-side baseline.
Goodwin just missed out on a double-double with eight points to go along his game-leading rebound count. Second-year Cameron Friesen (Abbotsford, BC) was big for the Heat off of the bench, logging only 14 minutes but scoring a productive 13 points.
First-year Berrios continues to be an integral part of the Heat’s system, logging a game-high 36 minutes at the point while pouring in eight points, dishing a game-high five dimes and picking away three steals.
Back from injury, WolfPack superstar Josh Wolfram (Kamloops, BC) scored a game-high 17 points. Reese Pribilsky (Victoria, BC) added 14 points and Brett Parker (Langley, BC) rounded out the team’s top scorers with 12. Wolfram nearly missed a double-double with eight rebounds.
The Heat narrowly lost the rebound battle 43-39, but had 18 second-chance points to the WolfPack’s six, a margin they will look to pound again in their next rematch.
With the win Thompson Rivers moves up to 9-6, maintaining hold on the second seed in the Explorer Division with the playoffs looming in a few weeks time. UBC Okanagan meanwhile dips to 2-13 for the season.
Both teams will face off again tomorrow night at 7 p.m. in the UBC Okanagan gymnasium.
Watch the action online and stream live stats at canadawest.tv.