The University of British Columbia

RECAP: Okanlawon's 31 drives UBCO to second straight win to start season

RECAP: Okanlawon's 31 drives UBCO to second straight win to start season

LANGLEY, B.C.  –  What a start for the beginning of Ken Olynyk's coaching career at UBCO and the final season of Aldrich Berrios career with the Heat as these two have come together and have taken the Heat to their best start in their Canada West history. 

The Heat men's basketball team held off Trinity Western on Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre in Langley, B.C. finishing with a 97-88 win over their host Spartans team for their first 2-0 start to a season in Canada West. 

Berrios in his fifth season, on Friday night, in the first game of his final season scored 20 points, including five of the last six for UBC Okanagan to open the season with a win. The first of those last five points was the magic one that made the Heat's captain the school's all-time leading scorer. 

Olynyk, in his first conference action as the head coach for the Heat after a long career as an athletics director, has led his team to a perfect record on the conference opening weekend, the first time that has happened since joining U SPORTS in 2011. 

It was Berrios the hero on Friday but on Saturday he deferred to his back-court mate Philip Okanlawon, who finished with a career high 31 points in the win. Triston Matthews added 20 points while Berrios played a complete game, on the floor for the entire 40 minutes Berrios finished with nine points, a game high 11 rebounds and six assists. He went 4-4 from the charity stripe to ice the game in the final minutes. 

The Spartans held a slim 46-45 lead at the end of the first half. But in the third quarter the Heat were able to get separation outscoring TWU 28-20 to take a 73-66 lead into the final 10 minutes. 

UBCO extended their lead to 86-74 with six minutes remaining in the game. 

Over the next four minutes TWU made a bid to win the game with a 14-7 run to cut the UBCO lead to five points, 93-88, with 1:37 remaining in the game. The Heat withstood the Spartans late charge with Berrios perfect shooting from the foul line to take the game 97-88. 

TWU was led by fifth year guard Vartan Tanielian (Byblos, Lebanon) with 21 points, fourth year forward Jack Nadelhoffer (Tigard, Oregon) with 19 points and third year forward Borja Soriano (Valencia, Spain) with 11 points and 10 rebounds led the Spartans. 

Notable:

  • Berrios, who hails from teh Lower mainland had scores of family and friends in attendance for his record setting night and double-win weekend.
  • In each of the last two seasons UBCO won their first game, this was the first time they won their second in a row to start the season.
  • The Spartans finished the night with 35 rebounds to the Heats 39, with both teams having 11 turnovers.
  • UBCO shot 50 percent (36-72) from the field, while TWU shot 43.7 percent (31-71). The Spartans had a good three-point shooting night hitting on 14 of 25 shots, 56 percent, while the Heat went 13-34, 38.2 percent.
  • TWU's largest lead was eight points, while UBCO's was 14 points. 

Up Next: 

The Heat will head home for their home opener when they host the Brandon Bobcats. Game times in Kelowna, BC are set for 8 p.m. and 7 p.m. PT. While the Spartans will travel to Saskatchewan to face the University of Regina on November 2 and 3. Game times are scheduled for 7 p.m. CST in Regina, Sask.

 ~ With notes from Scott Stewart, Sports Information Director | Spartan Athletics