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The UBC Okanagan men’s basketball team is powered by the second year big man to their second straight, and first win of the weekend series against the Mount Royal Cougars (73-58).

KELOWNA, BC – Second year forward, Dean Johnston, overcame early foul trouble, and for the second straight game scored in double digits, pushing the Kelowna squad into a late third quarter scoring streak which was enough to capture their second straight win of their Canada West campaign Friday night in Kelowna.

Johnston finished the game with 18 points, after picking up three quick fouls in the first half the big man sat for the majority of the first 25 minutes. When he entered the game late in the third he was an instant key the offense. Immediately upon entering he got the ball and finished to tie the game at 37, Aldrich Berrios would add five points of his own prior to Dean closing out the quarter with eight straight points. The two man (14-3) scoring streak, was the offensive push needed to give the Kelowna squad a buffer to maintain the lead until the final buzzer.

After a fairly even game throughout the first half, the third and fourth quarter were marked by two instrumental runs for UBC Okanagan, in the third the Heat were able to take a (14-3) run to close out the third quarter, and gave the Heat their first lead of the game (49-40).  In the fourth the Heat were able to maintain this lead, and a final (8-4) push against the Cougars to finish the game off (73-58), highlighted by two threes from another sophomore forward Austin Penrose.  The Heat’s ability to transition the ball and effectively make use of their forwards was a big key to the win on Friday night.

In their first win of the season, last Saturday night versus UNBC, UBC Okanagan hit (26-57) of their attempts giving them a 46% average. In tonight’s win they shot the exact same.  Their three point shooting also assisted in the win going (6-18, 33%) and (15-19) from the free throw line giving them a 78.9 percentage.

Aldrich Berrios had a team high of 23 points for the Heat, and Dean Johnston finished with 18 points in his 22 minutes, (8-11) from the field, 72%.

Austin Penrose also contributed with 10 points and Mitch Goodwin with eight. The Heat also had nine of its 11 players make the score sheet. This distribution of points was also a major factor in the Heats second straight win.

The Heat tenacious defense also prevented James Lefebvre and Brett Layton, two of the Cougars leading scorers to find their rhythm. Lefebre and Layton combined for a total of 19 points. Lefebvre has been scoring consistently with 15.8 points per game this season, and Layton, one of Canada West’s top field goal shooters with an average of  68.4 dropped to 35% in today’s game against the Heat.

The Cougars shooting percentage from the field was 37.3% ( 19-51) and their three point scoring was only 26.7% ( 4-15). Their inability to produce points was one of the contributing factors in their loss.

The Cougars, Derek Wolf led his team with 17 points, and Brett Layton followed with 16 points and nine rebounds.

The Heat and the Cougars battled on the boards, the Heat capturing 32 compared to the 31 obtained by the Cougars. Off the boards, the Heat were also able to capture 26 points off of turnovers compared to the 14 scored by MRU.

With tonight’s big win the Heat boost their record to 2-3 and will continue their weekend series in Kelowna against the Mount Royal Cougars whose record drops to 1-4 Saturday night. Tip off is at 7 p.m.