Home opener for Heat basketball

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ubc heat

Cary Mellon

KELOWNA, B.C. – The UBC Okanagan men’s basketball team will play in their home opener this Friday night at 8 p.m. when they face off against the 2-3 University of Regina Cougars. The Heat will continue their weekend home stand with a matchup against another prairie foe when they take on the 2-4 University of Brandon Bobcats at 8 p.m. Saturday night in the gymnasium on UBC’s Okanagan campus in Kelowna.

GAME TIMES

Friday, November 25 – University of Regina Rams at the UBC Okanagan Heat (8 p.m. PST in the Gymnasium on UBC’s Okanagan campus, Kelowna)

Saturday, November 26 – University of Brandon Bobcats at the UBC Okanagan Heat (8 p.m. PST in the Gymnasium on UBC’s Okanagan campus, Kelowna)

Both games will be streamed with live video: www.canadawest.tv

HEAT (0-4)

CIS National Ranking: N/A

CanWest Standings: 6th Pacific division

Last Week: 0-2; Fri 74-52 loss to UFV, Sat 108-63 loss to UFV

Streak: 4 losses

2011 CanWest Record: N/A

2011 CanWest Championship: N/A

2011 CIS Tournament: N/A

Last CanWest Title: N/A

Last CIS Title: N/A

Full Schedule / Roster

The Cougars will come into Kelowna after sweeping the University of Calgary Dinos last weekend in Regina, Saturday night’s victory an exciting double overtime win. The Heat fell twice last weekend to the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades, and hope to get into the win column in their first weekend of home games.

Assistant coach Matt Heyworth points out how well the team played on Friday on the defensive end saying, “We had a really strong defensive goal for the weekend, and I think we did that on Friday. Unfortunately we didn’t shoot too well.” Fourth year captain Steve Morrison (Post, N. Vancouver, BC) comments on the team’s shooting woes and looks at it philosophically. “Some nights you’re going to shoot well, sometimes you won’t, we just have to play through that.”

Both coach Heyworth and Morrison look forward to finally playing on their home court; Morrison says the team is anticipating this game and not nervous: “The nerves are past us, we’re just excited to play. Home opener – our crowd’s awesome. Our team feeds off of it.”

Heyworth mentions how hard it was to play in Calgary with a vociferous crowd cheering against the Heat, and hopes that UBC Okanagan and the faithful fans will be out in full force: “Some gyms are harder to play in than others, and there’s nothing like playing in your own gym. In Calgary it showed a big part of what the crowd can do – we had the football team behind us, riding us the whole game.”

Matt talks about his team’s weakness and the continued quest for improvement:

“We want to keep our turnovers down to around fifteen a game. For us to drop that down, it will definitely limit their scoring opportunities where they get easy buckets off of layups from steals, things like that. We got a few travelling violations against Calgary … So just lots of reps for in-game scoring situations – ‘if this is how you’re going to catch, be ready to do this footwork and execute.'”

With a tough week of practice the team looks ahead to this weekend to the home games as Heyworth gives a quick scout of the opponents:

“Regina’s record probably isn’t as good as it should be – they played a lot of strong competition early. They’re a pretty good team that we’re going to have to play tough. Brandon is another athletic team. I think we can compete with them, and that’s a game that we really want to take.”

UBC Okanagan as a team is struggling to score the ball but third year guard Yassine Ghomari (Vancouver, BC) has been consistently able to lead his team in scoring, averaging 18.3 points per game (eighth best in Canada West). Regina’s 6’7″ post Paul Gareau (4th year, Regina, Sask.) is ninth in the league at 17.4 points per game and will be a player the Heat will have to keep off the glass as he averages over seven rebounds a contest. The Heat have the worst rebounding margin in the league while Regina averages 14.8 offensive rebounds per game as a team (the best in the league). For the Heat to have a chance to win they must do a good job blocking out.

Saturday the Bobcats are similar to the Heat but have more weapons offensively with three players averaging in double figures. Guards Emerick Ravier (4th year, Paris FR) and Ilarion Bonhomme (3rd year, Washington, DC) average 16.3 and 13.8 points respectively, while first year post Ali Mounir-Benabdelhak (Montreal, QB) averages 11 points and six rebounds per game. The Heat will have to limit their turnovers to the Bobcats if they hope to compete with Brandon on Saturday, because Brandon is one of the best teams at creating turnovers, second in the league at a +2.17 turnover margin.

This will be the last games before the semester break for the basketball teams.

REGINA COUGARS (2-3)

CIS National Ranking: N/A

CanWest Standings: 4th in the Prairie division

Last Week: 2-0; Fri 83-74 win over UC, Sat 93-91 2OT win over UC

Streak: 2 wins

2011 CanWest Record: 14-10 (6th)

2011 CanWest Championship: 0-2

2011 CIS Tournament: N/A

Last CanWest Title: N/A

Last CIS Title: N/A

Full Schedule / Roster

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