Kelowna, BC - In one of the most memorable Heat basketball games in recent memory, a thrilling 17 point second half comeback would give the men's basketball team a 85-79 victory against the Brandon Bobcats on Friday night. This comeback moves the Heat to 3-0 to start the season which marks the first time in their Canada West history that they have opened the season with three straight wins.
Trailing 66-49 with 2:18 to go in the third quarter, the home team would light the building on fire in the final minutes, scoring 31 fourth quarter points to complete the biggest comeback in program history.
Philip Okanlawon would hit the game-tying triple with 1:36 to go after a scramble played under the backboard and one possession later sophomore Jacob Stokker would hit a cold-blooded three to give the Heat their first lead of the game at 80-77.
Rookie Hafith Moallin would play the role as closer on the night, knocking down a pair of free-throws with nine seconds left to put the game out of reach.
For the visiting Bobcats it was Tyvon Cooper providing the offense as he finished with 20 points on the night. Pookie Saunders, Jaleel Webb and Kobyn Jopp also finished in double-figures for Brandon.
Head coach Ken Olynk commented on his teams comeback performance, noting that toughness was the key "We just told the guys you got to keep persevering, move the basketball on offence and get stops on defence and we did a great job of that in the fourth quarter."
It was a strong start offensively for the visiting 'Cats as they scored 22 first quarter points thanks to superb ball movement that led to five assists in the opening quarter and a 22-17 lead. This five points Heat deficit was expanded on in the second frame, as Brandon led by as much as 11 in the second but would go into the halftime break up just six at 39-33.
The hot-shooting Bobcats would keep the Heat at arms length throughout the third frame in the Furnace, with the home team never able to get within more then five points. It looked to be all over when the Heat trailed 67-51 following a free-throw from Tyvon Cooper with just over a minute to go in the third but UBCO would provide one of the best comebacks in Heat sports history.
Down 15 to start the fourth, the home team would score the first 11 points of the fourth quarter to trail by just four at 68-64. This lead would stay intact until back-to-back layups from Hafith Moallin and Aldrich Berrios cut the deficit to just one at 75-74.
A Kobyn Jopp layup extend the lead back to 3 but Philip Okanlawon nailed a deep three to tie things up for the first time since early in the game. Jacob Stokker would give the home team their first lead following a contested three-ball and Aldrich Berrios and Moallin would put the game away for UBCO at the free-throw line.
The Heat (3-0)and Bobcats (1-2) will face-off once again tomorrow night in Kelowna with tip-off slated for 7 p.m. PT.
Steven Lin, Heat Sports Information