Kelowna, B.C. - Looking for a second straight home win to extend their best ever start in Canada West, the Heat men's basketball team shot the ball well but still struggled to score enough to stop the defending conference champions Alberta Golden Bears on Friday night, eventually losing by a score of 92-81.
While the 81 points was the best offensive performance of the season, the hometown team allowed the visitors to shoot 60% from the field. Aldrich Berrios set a season-high in points, as he had 27 on only ten shots including a perfect six for six from the free-throw line, and five for five from 3-point range.
The Bears well-rounded offense was led by the play of point guard Austin Waddoups who went for 17 points but it was Waddoups confidence with the ball in his hands creating opportunities for his teammates that made the Bears tough to contain.
Brody Clarke scored a team high 20 points - on 9-13 shooting- while Mamadou Gueye chipped in with 17 to match Waddoups.
The third-ranked team in the nation remain undefeated on the year and run their record to 5-0 while the Heat drop to 2-3.
The first half was an offensive shootout as both teams would come out guns a blazing. The Heat trailed by two points (27-25) and the end of the first quarter after struggling to get stops on the defensive end. The scoring would slow down a little bit in the second quarter, and the Golden Bears would take control of the game. The lead was down to just two at one point (33-31) but the visitors would finish the first half on a 15-7 run to take a ten point lead into the break (48-38).
Alberta shot over 57% from the field and would have only three turnovers in the first 20 minutes. The Heat had their best offensive half of the year, as they shot 50% from the field including five threes on nine attempts (56%). Aldrich Berrios led the way for the home team, as he had 15 points on five shots. Most of the guards scoring game from the free-throw line, as he was a perfect six of six from the charity-stripe.
The third quarter would be very similar to the second, as the Heat had no answer for the balanced U of A attack. The visitors would score 29 in the third to expand their lead to 17 going into the fourth. Although the Heat would win a little lower scoring final frame, the deficit would be too big to overcome.
Berrios nears 1000 points:
The fourth year Berrios finished with 27 points and now has 85 points on the season giving him 972 for his career. Berrios is close to becoming the school's third player to surpass 1000 career points. Mitch Goodwin, who closed out his career last season, owns the school mark with 1204 points.
- Coming off the bench one again, Aloysius Callaghan would finish the game with a solid 16 points along with five rebounds and three assists
- Cam Servatius continued his strong play from last weekend, as he had a season-high 13 points including three makes behind the arc on three attempts
- Ben Kornelsen played his best game for the Heat, as he would have 10 points along with a team-high six rebounds
Panda's Balanced attack
- Five different players from the visiting Golden Bears would finish in double-figures led by a team-high 20 points on 13 shots by Brody Clarke.
- Mamadou Gueye came into the game as the teams leading scorer, and would finish with 15 points which is just below his season average of 17 points a game
Inside the Numbers:
- Both teams played superb on the offensive end and the Heat actually finished with a better shooting percentage then the visitors (61% - 54%). The problem was the visitors had 22 more shot attempts then UBCO.
- The different in the game would be the turnovers and rebounding margins. The Heat had six more turnovers (13-7) and seven less rebounds (29-22).
- The Pandas did lots of their damage in the paint, as they had 22 more points from in close (48-26)
The Heat (2-3) will look for thei third straight weekend split when tomorrow night in the UBC Okanagan gym when they meet the Bears for the rematch. Tip-off at 7 p.m. PST
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat sports information