Calgary, AB - A strong performance from the Heat in the second half would be enough on Saturday night as they took down the Mount Royal Cougars by a 80-78 scoreline.
The Heat would outscore the home team 47-41 in the final 20 minutes to capture their fifth victory of the Canada West season (5-3). With the loss the Cougars fall to .500 (4-4).
Aldrich Berrios would have 23 points in the second half alone and 30 on the night but it was transfer David Okoroafor who came up clutch down the stretch. Okoroafor would hit two free-throws with four seconds left to put the Heat up two. After a timeout and the ball inbounded at the half, Mount Royal was unable to knock down a long-range three at the buzzer for the win.
Heat rookie point guard Hafith Moallin stuffed the stat sheet on the night as he finish with 21 points along with six steals, six rebounds and two assists.
The Cougars offense was led by LJ Hegwood, who notched a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Nick Tancon and Glen Yang both came close to double-doubles. Yang scored 13 points and added eight rebounds, while Tancon finished with 17 points and nine rebounds.
In the opening quarter MRU scored their first nine points on threes. Their hot shooting sparked them as they broke out to an early lead, which saw Yang score eight points and a Hegwood breakaway jam.
Hafith Moallin hit a three for the Heat at the first quarter buzzer, cutting the Cougars' lead to to six after the first 10 minutes.
Despite the hot start for the Cougars, the Heat responded in the second quarter with a 12-6 run to tie the game. They shot 47% in the quarter and found more success getting to the rim.
The Cougars wouldn't let the game stay tied for long, as they retook their lead and were able to keep it right to the end of the first half. Once the second quarter finished, they led 37-33.
The teams started the fourth quarter by trading the lead, going up and down the court. Both teams executed their offenses throughout the quarter and were able to match an opponent score with a basket of their own.
Berrios came up big for the Heat and hit a jump shot with 25 seconds left, to put the pressure back on the Cougars.
The Cougars drew up a play and turned the ball over after a high pass, but the Heat turned the ball over and fouled Matthew Guinto, who made his way to the line to make one of two free throws, tying the game with 15 seconds left.
Out of a timeout, David Okoroafor was fouled with four seconds left, stepped to the free throw line and knocked down both to give the Heat the lead.
Coach Ken Olynyk's thoughts on the weekend.
"Friday night led for the first 27 minutes and then hit a little bit of span where they scored nine in a row on us, and then we just couldn't get it back. I didn't think we played well as a group; as a team, we had some defensive lapses and letdowns, and that cost us overall in the game."
"On Saturday we had to rebound to try and get a split on the road. I thought we rebounded really well, in the sense that we came out and played hard defensively for the entire game. We really did a much better job and the kids worked defensively for the entire game, they really gutted it up with a complete effort."
"We got Aldrich Berrios more involved on the offensive side, which was good for us. Offensively it was a much better team effort and we shot the ball reasonably well in an important game for us."
"It was a big win for our guys. A real super effort, the guys played hard. Overall the weekend was a success, we are still (5-3), and above .500, that places us top 5-6 in Canada West, and we look to keep it going this weekend at TRU."
The Heat (5-3) continue their road trip against interior rivals Thompson Rivers University WolfPack (2-4) while the Cougars (4-4) will play the MacEwan Griffins (0-8).
�� MBB | FINAL— UBCO Heat (@UBCOHeat) November 18, 2018
Not the flashy finish but a great finish nonetheless as David Okoroafor hits both free throws with 4 seconds left to give the @UBCOHeat the 80-78 win and improve to 5-3 on the year.
Aldrich Berrios with 30 points, 8 rebounds for #UBCO pic.twitter.com/fkLEb0LRVO
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat Sports Information