Heat find scoring fire but Vikes show why they’re tops in Pacific

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November 17, 2013, KELOWNA, B.C. (ISN) – Fresh off a disappointing loss to the No. 4 team in the country, the Heat men’s basketball team relished another opportunity to pull off a major upset at home. It would not be in the cards for the Okanagan team, however, as Victoria ran out to a 79-60 victory Saturday night.

The Heat appeared to find their shooting stroke in the first quarter, going toe-to-toe with the Vikes for a 21-20 period. Second-year post Stuart Wallensteen (Nanaimo, BC) and fifth-year guard Yassine Ghomari (Vancouver, BC) would get to the line four times each and go a combined 8-8, as both players remained on the attack.

The Heat fell into a shooting slump again in the second quarter, managing only eight points, and it was in the third that the Vikes finally gained enough steam to dash any hopes of a comeback, outscoring the Heat 27-15 behind a barrage of three-pointers and costly turnovers by the Heat that resulted in six of senior forward Terrell Evans’ points.

“I think in the first half we had too many turnovers that led to easy scores for them,” Heat head coach Pete Guarasci said postgame. “Just turnovers at half-court that led to layups on the other end.”

In all, the Heat turned the ball over 16 times that would turn into 16 Victoria points.

Evans would go on to lead all scorers with 16 points, while teammate Chris McLaughlin piled in 13 down low.

The Vikes utilized excellent ball movement to keep the Heat defense guessing all game long, dishing out a combined 12 assists as a team. The Heat managed to hold the Vikes 12 points below their season scoring average in last night’s outing, but tonight could not restrain the offensive machine that seemed to be firing on all cylinders.

“I think our defensive execution wasn’t as sharp as it was last night,” Guarasci also noted, “They had some actions we guarded well last night, but this night not so much.”

Ghomari led his team with 11 points and grabbed five rebounds, though he turned the ball over eight times. Fellow fifth-year Landry Ndayitwayeko (Windsor, ON) and third-year Simon Fraser transfer James Lum (Vancouver, BC) each chipped in 10 points.

The Heat shot an excellent 20-26 from the free-throw line, but struggled mightily from the floor, going 17-58 including 4-18 from the three-point line.

The Heat coaching staff got a good look at what rookie Travis Worthing (Kelowna, BC) could bring to the table after seeing six minutes of floor time in the middle of the fourth. The 6’7″ Worthing scored six points matched up against McLaughlin.

The Vikes remain perfect at 6-0 and remain the top team in the Pacific division. Meanwhile, the Heat continue searching for their first win of the season at 0-6.

“All the credit to UVIC, they’re a well-organized, very well coached group,” Guarasci concluded. “I think they’re going to have a great season and be a good representative of Canada West.”

The Heat will get their next chance next weekend as they hit the road to Alberta to play the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns on Friday and then the Calgary Dinos on Saturday. Tip-off for both matches will be 7 p.m. and 6 p.m. (PST), respectively.

HEAT NOTES: The Heat were outscored by the larger Victoria team in the paint 32-18…The smaller Heat however fought their way to 24 second chance points, compared to 12 for the Vikes…tonight the Heat shot 29.3% from the field, the first time this season they have been below 30%…The Heat have only shot above 30% from the field once this season, Nov 7 at Mount Royal at 43.4%.