VANCOUVER – The UBC Okanagan Heat trailed the Thunderbirds by just nine points at the half but a disastrous third quarter really set the tone for the 78-48 loss on Saturday at the hands of the UBC Thunderbirds at War Memorial Gym.
The Heat got off to a quick start, jumping out to a 5-0 lead only to see the T-Birds come storming back with a 13 point run. The Heat fought back to take the lead 15-14 late in the first, forcing UBC coach Kevin Hanson to take an early time out.
Hanson played his bench early and often on Saturday, and the reserves seemed to be hitting their stride with a quick run early in the second quarter that put UBC on top 26-15. Even then the Heat came charging back to tie the game at 26. UBC held the Heat off the scoreboard for the last five minutes of the second quarter and carried that momentum into the third, where they outscored the visitors 25-8 to put the game away.
“To be down at 9 at the half and to have played with them for 20 minutes was great,” reflected Heat coach Darren Semeniuk. “We kept them under 80 both games, and they’re averaging 86 per game.”
The minutes were evenly distributed across the T-Bird roster, with only four players seeing at least 20 minutes of court time. Doug Plumb led the way with 18 points and eight rebounds, and Kamar Burke added 15 points and seven boards.
The bench scored 24 points, led by Mike Lewandowski, who netted nine to go with seven rebounds in 12 efficient minutes of action.
Second year Mack Roth (Wing, Port Coquitlam, BC) was the only Heat player to score in double digits with 15 points on the night. Italian import Ed Dane Medi (3rd year, Rome, IT) grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
“He [Mack] got comfortable out there where he was putting it on the ground,” continued Semeniuk. “He was confident in not only shooting the ball, but attacking off the dribble.”
The T-Birds were again extremely effective defending top Heat scorer Yassine Ghomari (3rd year guard, Vancouver, BC). He was held to seven points and hit just four of his 22 field goal attempts over the weekend series.
The one blemish for the T-Birds was, as it has often been this season, their turnover total. They gave the ball away 20 times on Saturday.
The T-Birds are up to 12-2 and still hold a one-game edge over Victoria for first in the Pacific Division. Next up for UBC is a pair of games in Abbotsford against UFV, and then they finish the season with a home-and-home against Victoria that will determine who finishes on top in the division standings.
UBC Okanagan falls to 2-12 with the loss.
HEAT NOTES: Coach Semeniuk has moved Mack Roth and Ed Dane Medi to a more traditional 4 man on the court, allowing him to play a three guards rotation, both Roth and Medi have responded to the subtle change in roles with solid performances for the Heat.