EDMONTON — For the second-straight night, the Heat ran into a juggernaut of a defensive team at Saville Community Sports Centre.
The No. 5 University of Alberta Golden Bears put on a defensive clinic that ended in an 87-53 loss for UBC Okanagan on Saturday night.
Every Bears player hit the scoresheet and Alberta shot 53.2% from the field as super sophomore forward Adam Paige led Alberta with 16 points, six rebounds, two assists, and three steals, while senior guard Andre Kelly chipped in with 13 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Alberta had five Bears players hit double-digits in scoring as the Golden Bears improved to 11-1 in conference play.
Third-year guard Philip Okanlawon led UBCO with 14 points and four rebounds in the loss as UBCO drops to 1-13.
"Going into this weekend, we wanted to focus on every play and possession with a championship mentality," said Paige. "We know the competition we'll be facing come playoff time and we can't afford to take a play off."
The Bears got off to a strong start in the first quarter and led 24-13, but turned it up a few notches in the second quarter and led 44-25 at the half.
UBCO led for just 42 seconds in the game as Alberta took control right from the opening tip and sent a strong message to UBCO that they weren't messing around in their weekend finale.
"Coming out strong and not giving them any kind of hope, in the beginning, was key. We wanted to set the tone early and not give them any kind of momentum heading into halftime," said Paige.
The big lead once again allowed Golden Bears head coach Barnaby Craddock to give his bench quality minutes in the second half and they came through once again.
Freshman guard Max Russell scored 10 points and three rebounds and hit two big treys in over 15 minutes of action.
Alberta wasn't the only team that saw their entire roster find the scoring column. UBCO played nine guys and all nine scored at least a basket. After Okanlanwon's 14 the Heat had three score eight points. Hafith Moallin, Samuel Matice, and Simar Bajwa did the deed. Matice and Bajwa both did so off the bench. The eight points represented a season-high for Matice as the seven-footer from Prince Albert also led the team with six rebounds.
Alberta will play their fellow Edmonton-based team, the MacEwan Griffins, in a home-and-home series starting Thursday at MacEwan and wrapping up Saturday at home, while UBCO will host the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves next weekend as a part of their final four-game homestand.
~ Jason Hillis, University of Alberta Sports Info