Prince George, BC - The Best shooting night of the season so far was not enough for the Heat men's basketball team, as they fell 87-81 on Saturday night to the UNBC Timberwolves.
Streaky second year guard Triston Matthews finished with a career high 28 points and Jacob Stokker, a first year from Penticton, scored 20 points a career high doubling his output and previous best from Friday night were outstanding as the Heat were seconds away from upsetting the TWolves on their home floor.
The Heat would trail by 13 at halftime, but a solid third and fourth quarter would give the team a chance in the final minutes. Jacob Stokker would hit a clutch three with just under a minute to go to cut the lead to three and following a Triston Matthews layup, the team would be down just one 82-81. After two made free-throws from Marcus MacKay, the Heat missed a trio, and the Timberwolves sealed it with three more converts from the charity stripe and escaped to improve their record to 6-8. With the defeat, the Heat drop to 2-10.
- Triston Matthews scored a game-high 28 points which eclipses his 27 points performance against Victoria during the opening weekend as his highest scoring game in Heat colours. The second year guard went 12-of-21 from the field, including two threes along with a game-high eight boards.
- First year forward Jacob Stokker had by far his best game in a Heat uniform, as the Penticton native dropped 20 points, including five threes and grabbed six rebounds as well.
Stokker was fouled on a three-point attempt with eleven seconds left, and a chance to tie the game, the first-year was unable to convert on his attempts.
"I was hitting the tough ones, but missing the easy ones. Those free throws should have been easy buckets, and that's the game right there."
"The future holds a lot of potential for us, so practicing good habits now will lead to lots of good things down the line."
The first quarter was a feeling-out period for both teams, with some missed opportunities at both ends of the court. Ultimately it was the Timberwolves pulling away to lead it 20-13 through then minutes.
In the second quarter, both offenses got in their respective grooves and started created offensively. Vova Pluzhnikov, Anthony Hokanson, and Marcus MacKay were deadly for the Timberwolves, while Triston Matthews and Jacob Stokker were answering at every possession for the Heat. At halftime, the home side held a 50-37 advantage, fueled by a 30-24 second stanza, and 14 points from Pluzhnikov.
- The Heat's offense caught fire on Friday night, as they shot 55% from the field and 50% from behind the three-point line which are both season highs. The 81 points ties the teams best mark of the season which came against Alberta back in November.
- What makes the Heat's hot shooting from the field more interesting is that the team struggled mightily from the charity stripe on the night. The team went just seven of 21 (33%) from the free-throw line in the contest.
Scoring for UNBC:
Anthony Hokanson led the way for UNBC offensively, dropping 20 points and adding six rebounds, while MacKay and Pluzhnikov poured in 18 and 16 respectively.
With the loss, the Heat are now 2-10 on the season and are on an eight game losing streak. The Heat will return to home-court next weekend when they host the Saskatchewan Huskies (3-9) on Friday and Saturday night in the UBC Okanagan gym. The Timberwolves (6-8) will be on the road the next two weeks when they travel to Brandon (6-6) and Victoria (6-6).
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat Sports Information; with notes from Rich Abney, UNBC Athletics