February 3, 2013, Kelowna, BC (ISN) – Great team play on offense and defense fueled the UBC Okanagan men’s basketball team to finally knocking off a ranked opponent with their 68-58 victory over the visiting Fraser Valley Cascades on Saturday night.
After a frustrating overtime loss to the Cascades the night before (85-80) the Heat played cohesive and with a great energy that once again made it very hard for their opponent to score, for the fourth time this year the Heat held their opponent to under 60 points.
“A great, great feeling,” said Heat fourth-year guard Landry Ndayitwayeko (Windsor, ON) after his team finally secured win number three this season. “We’ve been just on the brink here and there. We’ve got a lot of young guys and this is all experience and you see all those losses we took in the first semester are starting to pay off. You have to learn how to win too.”
A highly efficient Heat offense kept the high tempo-loving Cascades from generating any rhythm, as the Heat took their time with shot clocks, passing the ball around to the tune of 17 assists to find good looks that resulted in a 55.3 FG%.
“I thought today we took better care of the ball and we were just organized,” Landry remarked postgame, drawing comparisons to the night before. “We didn’t try to press it. Yesterday with the lead we were trying to get early shots in the shot clock, so it was good that we took our time and used the whole shot clock today.”
Landry came up huge off the bench for the Heat, finding nothing but net on all four of his three-point attempts en route to piling up 16 points and 5 rebounds. His steady hand at the point was his biggest contribution tonight, however, he often made the hustle plays that turned out big for the Heat and was a very vocal aspect of keeping the team focused on the court.
“Just being a captain on this team, I’m just trying to keep guys focused,” Landry said. “There are ups and downs in games, and you just got to refocus in downtimes and make sure guys are on the same page.”
Heat coach Pete Guarasci also noted the added focus of his squad tonight, saying, “I think we have a really competitive bunch. They want to win together. When they huddle up on the court, they’re refocusing each other. In timeouts, they’re refocusing each other. We have some good leaders on this team who are vocal leaders, and they show a lot of character”
Guarasci went on to admit how happy he was to see the labours of his team finally bear fruit. “The way they came back to compete and to mentally execute this game plan tonight just shows the tremendous strength and character of our group.”
“To be honest, though, I am so focused on process that the results are nice, but the results to me are more for the players. I see what we’re doing on the film, I see how we’re executing game in and game out … this has been our best game of the season, and it’s February 2nd. So we’re improving, we’re getting better and that’s all I care about.”
Alongside Ndayitwayeko, rookie Mitch Goodwin (Kelowna, BC) was just one rebound shy of a double-double with a game-high 17 points and nine rebounds in the effort.
The Cascades had only scored 22 points by halftime, but were able to find other ways to score as they posted 18 points in each of the final two quarters.
Fifth-year guard Sam Freeman led the Cascades and the game in scoring with 20 points, and second-year Kevon Parchment was his only other teammate to see double digit scoring, finishing with 12 points and 9 rebounds.
Despite a highly physical and grind-it-out sort of game down the stretch, both teams shot only 14 foul shots each, the Heat making 9 while the Cascades 10.
UFV falls to 10-8 as the Heat snap their three game win streak. They will return home to Envision Athletics Centre to host the Thompson Rivers WolfPack next weekend. Meanwhile, the Heat finally secure win number three (3-16) and will hit the road for the last time next weekend to visit the Trinity Western Spartans. Tip-off Friday night is at 8 p.m.
Watch all the action on canadawest.tv.