KELOWNA, BC – The UBC Okanagan Heat men’s basketball team looked to be making a comeback in the fourth quarter against the visiting Trinity Western Spartans, but the road team was able to hold on. Perfect performance from the free throw line by the Spartans late in the game was the clincher for a five-point victory in the UBC Okanagan gymnasium Saturday night, 79-74.
The fourth quarter started with the Spartans up 62-50. UBC Okanagan went on a bit of a run to start the fourth, cutting the lead to single digits with 6:48 left in the game. Matt Lafontaine was the driving force in that stretch with four points on two free throws and a layup, and added an assist.
With just over four minutes to play, Buzz Truss made a pair of free throws to cut the Heat’s deficit to six. A dunk and a pair of free throws from the Spartans’ leading scorer, Patrick Vandervelden, quickly put his team’s lead back up to ten, 69-59. In the final 32 seconds, Trinity Western went six for six from the free throw line, putting the game away. A late three-pointer from Aldrich Berrios brought the Heat within five with seven seconds left, but that would be as close as the Heat would come on Saturday night.
Each team finished with three players scoring in double digits on the night. For UBC Okanagan Aldrich Berrios led the way with 17 points, followed by Buzz Truss and David Manshreck with 12 and 11 respectively. Patrick Vandervelden finished with 18 points to lead the Spartans, with Tyus Allen and Pogos Trunyan netting 15 and 12.
Trinity Western came out firing to start the game, with Tyus Allen getting the scoring started with a three-pointer just over thirty seconds after the opening whistle. That gave the Spartans the first lead of the game, and they never gave it up.
Through the first twenty minutes of play, the momentum was definitively on Trinity Western’s side. On pace to score in triple digits on the night, the Spartans held a 51-36 lead at half time. Patrick Vandervelden and Pogos Trunyan led the way before the break, scoring 14 and 10 respectively. Aldrich Berrios headed up the Heat offence in the half, scoring 10 points, six of which came from a pair of three-pointers late in the second quarter.
The third quarter started with the Heat’s Ryan Morck making a layup to cut the Spartans’ lead to 13, but with two minutes left in the frame the visiting side had extended their advantage to 21 points, up 62-41, primarily thanks to Tyus Allen, who scored from all areas with a layup, a three-pointer, and a mid-range jump shot in the third. Layups from Buzz Truss and David Manshreck, who converted an and-one as well, and a pair of free throws by Matt Lafontaine in the final seconds of the quarter brought the Heat within 12 at the penultimate buzzer.
The UBC Okanagan Heat (1-1) will play their next games against the Brandon Bobcats in Manitoba next weekend, Friday November 11 and Saturday, November 12. The Trinity Western Spartans will play next on the same days, in a home and home against the UFV Cascades.