KELOWNA, B.C. - It was a long-range barrage from the Heat men's basketball team as they used 20 made triples to take down the MacEwan Griffins 83-81 on Friday night in the UBC Okanagan gym.
The hot shooting from deep started early and often, as the home team knocked down nine triples in the first quarter alone, including five from Philip Okanlawon to build a 29-15 advantage after the opening 10 minutes.
MacEwan stuck around, however, battling the Heat till the buzzer as they had two chances with under 10 seconds left to either tie or take the lead but neither found the bottom of the bucket.
"We're in a do-or-die situation really and we have to win every game going out and we got this one and now we got to look at tomorrow, " commented Ken Olynyk following his team's victory on Friday night. "To play four quarters like we did in the first would be nice to see, but we started to stand a little bit on offence."
This win keeps the Heat's playoff hopes alive as they now sit in a log jam at six wins in conference play, tied with three other teams for the final playoff spot.
Five Heat players finished in double-figures, led by Okanlawon who had 22 points and seven boards. Shooting guard Triston Matthews finished with 21 points and seven rebounds while Aldrich Berrios (15 points), Hafith Moallin (11 points) and Jarrett Larsen (10 points) all also finished in double-digits.
The Griffins were led by Jake Notice who had 22 points and nine boards while Abdullah Shittu used his size down low to finish with 16 points and five blocks.
The Heat (5-11) and Griffins (0-15) will have to get to face each other again tomorrow night in the Furnace with tip slated for 7 p.m. PST. Tomorrow night's game will also featured as a celebration of the 10 year anniversary of the Provincial Championship team of 2008-09.
Coach Olynyk post game interview
Shoot for the Cure:
Friday night's game featured as 'Shoot for the Cure', which is a national initiative to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS). While the men's game did not feature a $100 per made three incentive like the women the Heat still raised $730 dollars on the night as a whole. For more information on the event and where to donate you can click here.
In one of the more impressive shooting displays in recent memory, the Heat scored all but two of their 29 first quarter points from behind the arc, including 17 points in the frame from Okanlawon. After the hot start from the home team, MacEwan did a great job hanging with the Heat as they cut their deficit to just eight at halftime (42-34). Jarrett Larsen came off the bench and made an instant impact in the opening 20 minutes as he had 10 points at the break.
The two teams exchanged haymakers in the second half as every time the Griffins hit a triple to gain momentum the Heat would come back with a made three of their own. After MacEwan outscored the home team by a point in the third, the Heat would go to the fourth up seven (59-52). With just over a minute left it looked like the game was over as UBCO led 80-71 following a Matthews layup. The visitors forced some turnovers late and after Aldrich Berrios split a pair of free-throws, MacEwan had the ball down just two with eight seconds left. Deonte Doctor-Doslov hoisted up a deep three that rimmed out and Abiel Tabufor had a second chance opportunity but it fell just short.
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat Sports Information