The Heat’s Jaeli Ibbetson scored 20 points in UBCO’s basketball home-opener on Nov. 1 (UBC Okanagan Athletics)

Heat squads come up short in basketball season-opener

UBCO hosted the Manitoba Bison for the first games of the season

The UBC Okanagan Heat started the basketball season with a few losses on Friday night.

Both the men and women squads fell short in the first games of the year as they hosted the Manitoba Bisons in the first of two matches over the weekend.

It was a well-fought battle for the Heat women who fell 82-69 to the Bisons.

Heat rookie Jaeli Ibbetson came out strong in her first game with UBCO as she racked up a team-high 20 points and 13 rebounds. Senior Jordan Korol was also solid for the Heat, as she finished just shy of the double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds.

The Bisons’ defensive prowess was insurmountable for the Heat as Manitoba lead by 10 for most of the game and forced UBCO to earn their points at the free throw line where the Heat shot 28 for 40.

READ MORE: Novak’s hat-trick leads Rockets to lopsided win

Turnovers and points in the paint were areas that the Heat men faltered Friday night in their season-opener loss to Manitoba. With 21 turnovers and getting outscored by 36 in the key, UBCO fell 86-58 in the first of two battles with the Bisons.

Owen Keyes returned to the Heat after not playing last season. Keyes led UBCO with 14 points and guard Philip Okanlawon nailed some well-timed 3-pointers but the Bisons were always able to stifle any Heat comeback and kept their foot on the gas as Manitoba got 40 points from their bench players and shot over 44 per cent from the field.

READ MORE: Okanagan woman completes ultra-marathon, makes Canadian history

The Heat and Bisons go at it again for game two of the series Saturday.

The Heat women get the rematch at 3 p.m. while the men look for revenge at 5 p.m.

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