The UBC Okanagan Heat showed a flair for the dramatic in kicking off the Canada West men’s basketball season with a victory Friday in Victoria.
Aldrich Berrios connected for the winning points with just 1.2 seconds left on the clock as the Heat defeated the Vikes 73-72. It marked the Heat’s first victory in their Canada West history in seven tries against the Vikes.
The lead changed hands 11 times in the final four minutes, before Berrios had the final say by sprinting up the floor and making no mistake for the decisive basket.
“He makes it easy for me,” said Heat head coach Guarasci of Berrios. “At the end of the game I know he wants to take the shot and whether he makes it or not doesn’t matter because I know that he wants it.”
A trio of guards led the way for UBC Okanagan scoring 63 of the team’s 73 total points.
Second-year guard Triston Matthews led the game in scoring, recording 27 points and seven rebounds, a career-high for the North Vancouver product.
Berrios added 19 points on 5-for-8 shooting, while Aloysius Callaghan, a fourth-year transfer in his first action with the Heat, rounded out the scoring with 17 points.
On Saturday, the Vikes answered back with a dominant 81-52 victory. The Heat’s undoing came in the third quarter when they were outscored 35-8.
“We didn’t take care of the ball and weren’t ready to play in the third quarter,” Guarasci said.
After a big game on Friday, Matthews, Berrios and Callaghan were only able to score 13 combined points in the loss.
The Heat men will host their home openers this weekend at the UBCO gym against Thompson Rivers—Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.
The UBCO women opened their Canada West season with a pair of tough defeats in Victoria.
In the opener, the Heat trailed from the outset en route to a 64-54 loss to the Vikes.
Shenelle Tamminen led the way for the Heat with 12 points in her 26 minutes on the court.
Kate Johnson got her U SPORTS career off to a flashy start with 10 points on five-for-seven shooting.
“She is one of the fastest players that I have seen in a while,” Heat coach Claire Meadows of her rookie guard. “She brings a great spark for us both offensively and defensively.”
On Saturday, UVic’s Amira Giannattasio scored 23 points of her 36 points to help drop the UBC Okanagan women to a 78-64 loss.
Second-year guard Emma Jonas led the Heat in scoring with 18 points while going a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity stripe.
“We are playing a bit too inconsistently right now, we show spurts where we play well but it’s not for 40 minutes,” said Heat head coach Claire Meadows. “Tonight we won two quarters which is great for us because we are a young team, but if we want to compete we have to better and more consistent.”
The Heat will play their home openers this coming weekend, Saturday and Sunday, against the TRUY Wolfpack.
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