KELOWNA, B.C. – The University of Manitoba Bisons men’s basketball team rang in the New Year with a bang, winning by 15 points over the UBC Okanagan Heat (80-65). The Heat were unable to disrupt the high-scoring, up-tempo Bison team and now sit at 1-6 in conference play. The Bisons move their winning streak to three with tonight’s W, improving to 5-4 in conference play.
“I think that we left a lot of points off the scoreboard today that we should have finished,” commented Heat assistant coach Matt Heyworth. “They were consistent in their scoring and we had droughts of 4 or 5 minutes where we didn’t score.”
The Heat kept the score tight in the first quarter but the Bisons blew past them in the second half, leading by almost 20-points for the rest of the game. Bisons head coach Kirby Schepp’s team played a strong game both offensively and defensively tonight, shutting down the Heat and maintaining their solid lead. All five starting Bisons scored in the double-digits tonight. Guards Kurtis Sansregret (3rd year, Winnipeg, MB) and Kevin Oliver (4th year, Winnipeg, MB) took off with 18 and 15 points each as well as 7 and 10 rebounds respectively.
Heyworth commented, “we had our strategy in place and it was pretty good when we were executing it, but we had to adjust to their pressure which they brought at the first half and we did a good job there. That was the main thing: stick to our original game plan.”
Heat head coach Darren Semeniuk attempted to pick up the pace and keep stride with the Bison attack, but despite the team’s best efforts, Manitoba ran away with the lead in the second half. Freshman Bret Macdonald (1st year, Port Coquitlam, BC) blew things up for the Heat, scoring 23 points for his team as the only Heat player to score in the double digits. Heading into tonight’s game Macdonald was the league’s leader in 3-point field goal percentage (58.3 percent). Yassine Ghomari (3rd year, Vancouver, BC) was shut down for most of the game scoring only 9 points, down from his average 19.2 points per game.
“The Wesmen are going to pressure us a lot. They’re very athletic,” said Heyworth. “They’re going to look to put defensive pressure on us. Our last game against them was in Winnipeg so they’ve seen us, we’ve seen them, the teams know each other. Our game plan will be to handle their pressure with ball reversal, making sure that we are not stationary on offense and retain lots of player movement.”
The Heat host the University of Winnipeg Wesmen Saturday at 8 p.m. at UBC’s Okanagan campus. The University of Manitoba Bisons will visit the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack Saturday at 7 p.m. Both games will be broadcasted live at canadawest.tv.
HEAT NOTES: At 5’10” Brad Quevillon is the shortest player on the Heat roster, yet led the team in rebounding tonight with 5, tied with Simon Pelland…Bret Macdonald scored 23 points, a high of his young career…Bret is still shooting over 50% from three on the year; he went 3-6 tonight, making his current percentage on the year 55.6% ….Yassine Ghomari has scored in double digits every game this season up until tonight; he finished tonight with just 9.