The UBC Okanagan Heat welcomed veteran Yassine Ghomari back into the lineup with open arms.
The veteran guard responded by leading his team to a 76-59 victory over the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack in Canada West basketball on Saturday night in Kamloops.
Ghomari, playing in his first game since being injured in the season opener in October,
knocked down 20 points, including a key run of six straight points in the fourth quarter to pace the Heat to their second win of the season.
Heat teammate Mitch Goodwin also carried a big load for the Heat with 20 points and eight rebounds, while Greet Gill added 11 points.
Fourth-year post Dave Mackay was effective in shutdown role for the Heat, recording three blocks and helping to limit the WolfPack’s twin bigs, Blaz and Ivan Bozinovic to a combined three points.
“I was really proud of our guy’s effort,” said Heat head coach Pete Guarasci. “We sustained it throughout the whole game. Not only our physical effort but our mental effort. We stayed focused and we guarded well and tried to do good things on offense and make good shots. I was really happy with the way they executed the game plan.”
The Heat (2-9) will return to action this weekend when they host a pair of Alberta opponents. On Friday night, the Calgary Dinos will visit the Kelowna campus, with the Lethbridge Pronghorns to follow on Saturday.
Illness and injury kept the UBC Okanagan women from being at their best as the Heat women dropped its first game of 2013, 91-54 to Thompson Rivers on Saturday in Kamloops.
Heat head coach Heather Semeniuk pointed to her team’s lack of ball control as a key factor in the loss. The WolfPack netted 32 points off UBCO turnovers en route to the lops odes win.
“We were a little bit out of it, “said Heat head coach Heather Semeniuk. “We are a bit sick and injured but they are a great team. They move the ball well and they are very disciplined with their offense. We just need to step up and play better defence and get our offense going.”
Sarah Allison, still battling a flu from the December break, led the Heat once again in scoring with 12 points, while Vernon guards Emily Kanester and Madison Kaneda each knocked down 10 points, while Kandea also had 10 rebounds.The undermanned and undersized Heat lost their main post player, Krystal Schouten, just 10 minutes into the contest to a knee injury, but still managed to play strong game on the glass, only losing the rebounding battle 43-39.
The Heat (4-7) will host the Canada West-leading Calgary Dinoa (9-1) on Friday, with the University of Lethbridge making a stop in Kelowna on Saturday.