EDMONTON, AB - The UBC Okanagan Heat men’s basketball team lost by a final score of 93-64 to the Grant MacEwan Griffins in the MacEwan Gym on Saturday night.
After struggling in the first quarter and falling behind by a dozen UBCO got hot in the second and scored 26 in the frame. However, MacEwan outscored UBC Okanagan in every quarter except the second, and finished better in nearly every statistical category. Ultimately the second half belonged entirely to the Griffins on their senior night, as they outscored the Heat 51-28 to run away with the contest in Edmonton.
For the Heat it was once again Aldrich Berrios leading the way in scoring, finishing with 21 points. Freshman Triston Matthews had 19 points, setting a career best for the first year player from North Vancouver, he also led the Heat on the glass with eight rebounds. Berrios and Matt LaFontaine tied for a team-high in assists with four apiece.
Thadius Galvez finished with a game-high 25 points for the Griffins and finished just two rebounds shy of a double-double. He was followed by Denzel James with 22 and Keith Gerdes with 18. James also finished with a game-high three blocks.
As a team the Griffins had the better overall shooting night, as they finished at 52.3% in field goals, 35.7% from three-point range, and 78.9% from the free-throw line. The Heat finished with 40.6%, 33.3%, and 54.5% in those same categories. UBC Okanagan finished ahead in rebounds (38-37), while MacEwan had more steals (9-4), more blocks (7-1), and fewer turnovers (10-18). Both teams finished with 20 assists.
The Griffins extended their lead significantly in the third quarter, stretching their six-point half-time lead to 21 going into the fourth quarter. Again the MacEwan defence played well, holding the Heat to no baskets in the final two minutes of the third. Of the 29 Griffin points in the third quarter, 16 came courtesy of Denzel James.
The fourth quarter saw the Griffins score 22 and the Heat 14, with MacEwan ahead in field goal percentage, steals, and turnovers. Despite Triston Matthews’ nine points for the Heat in the final frame, UBCO was unable to cut into the Griffins’ lead.
The first quarter belonged to the Griffins, as they took a 22-10 lead after the first 10 minutes of play. The MacEwan defence was the key to their success early on, holding UBC Okanagan to just a single point until the 6:20 mark, when Matt LaFontaine scored the first non-free-throw basket for the Heat on a three-pointer. The Griffins shooting continued to be the more consistent, as they outscored UBCO 10-6 in the last five minute of the opening frame.
The second quarter saw the Griffins once again score 22, but the Heat’s shooting improved and they put up 26 to bring them within six points, down 42-36 at half-time. At the break Aldrich Berrios (12) for the Heat, and Thadius Galvez (15) and Keith Gerdes (10) for the Griffins were already scoring in double-digits.
The UBC Okanagan Heat (2-16) will play their final games of the season against the UFV Cascades (8-9) in Kelowna on Friday, February 10 and Saturday, February 11. The Grant MacEwan Griffins (7-11) will play on those same dates in Calgary against the Dinos (13-4).
The final home weekend for UBC Okanagan will see the Heat honour their lone graduating player, and all time leading scorer for the institution, Mitch Goodwin with a ceremony on Saturday, February 10th.
~ Grayson Leahy, UBC Okanagan