KELOWNA, B.C. – UBC Okanagan Heat fell for the second straight night to the University of Victoria as the Vikes used a strong defensive effort to best the Okanagan squad 68-39. The University of Victoria will have a very big matchup next weekend in their home and home with the Thunderbirds.
With the win and depending on the results of the UBC versus UFV matchup tonight, the Vikings will either be tied or in sole possession of first place with the Thunderbirds, and the final two games will possibly determine who hosts Canada West final four.
Ryan MacKinnon led the Vikes in scoring for the thirteenth time this season with 19 points on 7-11 shooting. His backcourt mate Michael Acheampong also had a hot hand, torching the Heat for 18 points. Both Chris McLaughlin and Acheampong led the team with 7 rebounds.
Senior post player Simon Pelland(N. Vancouver, BC) led the way for the home squad with 16 points. Guard Yassine Ghomari’s (3rd year, Vancouver, BC) shooting woes continues as he was held to just 9 points, well below his season average of 17.5. On the boards for the Heat Ghomari and third year Ed Dane Medi (Wing, Rome, IT) led the team, both hauling in 7 boards.
The game was decided in the first quarter as the Heat missed many easy shots that rolled just off the rim, allowing the Vikes to start the game on a 17-4 run in the first 10 minutes. During an eight minute stretch in the first, the Heat missed 10 straight shots. UBC Okanagan played a strong defensive game in holding the Vikes to just 68 points and 40% shooting, but they could never recover from the unfortunate start to the game.
The Heat once again struggled shooting the ball, contributing to their low offensive output. UBC Okanagan shot just 25% from the field and a paltry 1-12 from three point range. The Heat were also unable to gain any advantage on the glass as the Vikes outrebounded UBC Okanagan 53-34 for the contest. The Heat only turned the ball over 10 times, the second lowest total on the season – they committed only 8 turnovers versus Alberta back in January.
As mentioned prior, UVic will face off against the Thunderbirds for the Pacific Division title in a home and home series; the Heat will also play a home and home with their travel partner the Thompson Rivers WolfPack – those games will go Saturday in Kamloops and Sunday in Kelowna; Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Tournament Capital Centre, Sunday at 6 p.m. on UBC’s Okanagan campus.