~ Oliver Rizun, Heat sports information
Kelowna, B.C. - In a game that featured eight ties and 16 lead changes, the Heat men's basketball would grind out a victory on Sunday afternoon by a final score of 57-53 against the visiting Thompson Rivers University WolfPack. This marks the best four-game start (2-2) to a season since the men's basketball team inception into the Canada West in 2011-12.
Neither of the two teams would have more then a six-point advantage all night as the two teams both struggled to find their shooting stroke. Cam Servatius would make arguably the play of the game when he spun a WolfPack defender around and then finished at the rim while getting fouled. He would make the following free-throw to put the team up 54-52 with just over a minute to go and the Heat would never relinquish this lead.
Exciting fourth quarter:
A corner three-ball from transfer guard Aloysius Callaghan would increase the Heat lead to 49-44 just two minutes into the fourth quarter. The two teams would struggle the following few minutes as neither team made a field goal for almost five minutes in the middle of the fourth. Following a 'Pack free-throw, TRU would have the ball in their hands down two (54-52) with 43 seconds left, but they would turn the ball over on a poor pass. The Heat would return the favour on the following in-bounds play however to give the ball back to the visitors. The WolfPack would not take advantage of this break as Mike Rouault would be called for a travel going to the rim. After Servatius missed a jumper to seal the game he fouled 'Pack guard Luke Morris who could only make one of two at the line.
With 12 seconds left the Heat were clinging to a one-point lead (54-53) with the ball in their hands. Aldrich Berrios, who is one of the best free-throw shooters in the conference, would be fouled with nine seconds left and he would make both from the stripe to increase the lead to three (56-53). The Heat would dodge a bullet in the final seconds as Luke Morris would get an open look from deep but he could not convert. The score finished 57-53 following a made Triston Matthews free-throw in the dying seconds
Both teams would struggle to score in the first frame as neither team would reach double-digits (9-9). The Heat shot just 20% (3 for 15) while the WolfPack shot 31% but had six first-quarter turnovers. An Aldrich Berrios three-pointer with just over two minutes left in the second quarter would give the home team a 23-22 lead. The Heat would maintain this one-point lead at halftime following a Mahamed Omar that put the Heat up 29-28 at the break. Mike Rouault would lead the way for the visitors with 12 points and six rebounds through two quarters. Triston Matthews had nine points for UBCO in the first half on five shots.
- The Presidents Cup is handed out at the end of every season for the cumulative best school in head-to-head results in each gender of Canada West competition. Full history
- With the win, the Heat keep the men's portion of the Presidents Cup alive. They will need men's volleyball to win both matches in February to capture the men's trophy for the first time since the challenge was re-established in 2014.
- Aloysius Callaghan came off the bench to record a game-high 16 points along with five rebounds.
- Second year guard Triston Matthews continued his solid start to his season as he scored 12 points including a free-throw that would seal the deal.
- Cam Servatius had his best performance of the season as he scored nine points and grabbed seven boards. Servatius was also perfect from the charity stripe as he knocked in five free-throws on five attempts.
- Kyrin Cybenko was a beast on the glass, as he grabbed 12 boards in 22 minutes of play.
- Two of the five TRU starters finished with double-doubles. Mike Roualt finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds while Luke Morris scored 14 points and hauled in a team high 11 rebounds.
Inside the numbers:
- Both teams would shoot well below their season averages from the field as the visitors finished the game at 33% while the Heat finished at 30%.
- The turnover battle went decisively to the home team as they had only six compared to 14 for TRU.
The Heat (2-2) will be back at home again next weekend when they face the USPORTS #3 University of Alberta Golden Bears (4-0). The WolfPack (2-2) will travel to Saskatoon to face-off against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies (0-2).