Steven Lin, Heat Sports Information
KELOWNA, BC - It was another dramatic finish for the Heat men's basketball team on Saturday night as they hung on for a narrow 83-82 victory over the Brandon Bobcats.
With nine seconds left Brandon would get the ball with a chance to win the game but Tyvon Cooper's layup would rim out UBCO would come out victorious.
With the win the Heat move to 4-0 on the season which is the longest winning streak in program history. The visiting Bobcats fell to 1-3 early in the Canada West season with the loss.
Brandon would fight their way back from a 12-point second half deficit to tie things up at 78 and 80 all but were never able to take the lead at any point of the game.
The hot shooting to finish Friday's game carried over into the first half for the home team as they shot 63% in the opening 20 minutes including scoring 20 points in the first six minutes of the game. The Heat led by as many as 15 in the first half but a late surge from the 'Cats cut the Heat lead to just four at 43-39 heading into the halftime break.
Triston Matthews would be a perfect 7-of-7 from the field in the opening two quarters on the way to 16 points in the opening 20 minutes of game time.
A triple from Matthews extended the Heat lead to 12 with just over two minutes to go in the third quarter but the Bobcats fought back much like UBCO the night prior. An 18-6 run would tie things up at 68 apiece and Philip Okanlwon would give the home team some separation following a deep triple. Transfer David Okoroafor would come up clutch late as he would knock down two free-throws to give the Heat a late lead which they were able to hang on to.
Head coach Ken Olynyk was very pleased with his teams so far this year, noting that ball movement and trust has been the key in the early season.
"I think we really moved the ball well and we talk about letting the offence score and not the individual and we got easy cuts and easy shots and it makes a difference. We talked a lot about trust at the beginning of the year, you gotta trust you coaches, trust yourself and trust your teammates and i think were devloping that trust and believe in eachother. "
Tyvon Cooper, Kobyn Jopp, and Jaleel Webb would all finish in double-figures for the Bobcats. Cooper would score a team-high 29 points along with five rebounds and six assists.
For the Heat it was a balanced attack as five separate players finish in double-figures.. Triston Matthews would score a team-high 20 points to go with five rebounds. Rookie Hafith Maollin would pitch in 18, including the crucial free throw late, and would also have five rebounds and seven assists. Senior Aldrich Berrios would put up 14 points to go with five rebounds, and five assists.
The Heat (4-0) will be back in action on Friday night on their home floor when they host the Lethbridge Pronghorns (2-0) with tip-off going at 8 p.m. in Kelowna. On the other hand, the Brandon Bobcats (1-3) travel back home for a two game set against the Regina Cougars (2-2).