KELOWNA, BC – The UBC Okanagan Heat couldn’t shut down the University of Victoria Vikes’ speedy and aggressive offense, eventually falling to the CIS No. 7 ranked team by 27 points (76-49) at UBC’s Okanagan campus.
“We’re always just looking to improve and try to get better than the last game,” commented Heat assistant coach Adrian Neale regarding the team’s strategy tonight. “I don’t know if we accomplished that today but that’s always our mindset. Now that we’re out of the playoffs everything is just about improving game by game.”
The Heat managed only nine points in the first quarter and trailed UVic 22-9 after the first ten minutes. In the second quarter the Heat allowed the Vikes to extend their lead by two points and went into the break trailing 41-26.
“They are definitely bigger than us,” continued Neale. “We didn’t do very good job of boxing them out, especially in the first half. They scored a lot of second chance points on us.” The Vikes outrebounded the Heat 48-25 on the night and finished with 23 second chance points.
The Vikes’ star player Ryan MacKinnon (5th year, Comox, BC) hit 1300 career points tonight, scoring a game high 21 points against the Heat. Teammate Terrell Evans (3rd year, Las Vegas, NV) scored 13 points and grabbed a game high 11 rebounds alongside forward Pierce Anderson (4th year, Calgary, AB), who added 12 points and 8 rebounds.
“We’re definitely going to have to execute our offense a little better and box out their bigger guys,” said Neale. “We just need to come with a little more energy than we came with tonight, especially in the second half.”
The third quarter saw the Heat come within 12 of the Vikes several times, but they were unable to get the game within 10 until halfway through the third when UVic closed out the quarter with a 12-6 run, increasing their lead to 20 (59-39). The final frame saw both teams rotate players through as the Heat and Vikes finished the game with a score of 76-49 for UVic.
Neale continued. “It seemed like we didn’t get any of the bounces and it seemed like everything kind of went their way. Offensively, we just couldn’t score.”
The Heat’s Yassine Ghomari (3rd year, Vancouver, BC) finished with a team high 10 points alongside Steve Morrison (4th year, N. Vancouver, BC), who also scored 10 points and grabbed four rebounds. Ed Dane Medi (3rd year, Rome, IT) added a team high of six rebounds.
“Coming down the stretch of the season, you want your fifth year guys to take over and lead the younger guys and make sure they keep playing hard,” commented Neale on the rest of the season. “When you’re out of the playoffs there’s a chance that there are letdowns and it’s your senior guys that have to make sure that everyone’s out to play every game.”
With the win the Vikes move up to 12-3 this season and are now tied with the Thunderbirds atop the Pacific Division standings. The Heat fall to 2-13 in conference play. The teams face off for round two tomorrow night at UBC’s Okanagan campus at 6 p.m. The game can be seen live at www.canadawest.tv.
HEAT NOTES: Steve Morrison, playing in his final few games for the Heat, had a season high 10 points versus the Vikes. Steve will be heading off to law school in the fall.