KELOWNA, BC – The UVic Vikes men’s basketball team won both of the games they played this weekend after they defeated The UBC Okanagan Heat by a final score of 75-65 in Kelowna.
A nearly great home court comeback fell just short. The Heat came into the fourth quarter down 62-45. With 30 seconds left, they were down 70-65.
The UBC Okanagan defence was able to shut down the Vikes shooters throughout most of the quarter, while the Heat shooters were finding their stroke. A pair of three-pointers from Triston Matthews brought the Heat within eight, 64-56, with six minutes left.
Austin Penrose made it a six-point game with just over three minutes left, and Buzz Truss brought them within five with half a minute to go.
That was where the momentum swung back to Victoria again, though, as the Vikes made five of six free throws in the final seconds to close the game out.
Had Victoria not come out at their best early in the game, that comeback in the fourth quarter may have been enough for a Heat win. However, the first quarter saw UBCO outscored 23-4. Despite the Heat’s 22-16 edge in the second quarter, the Vikes held a 39-26 lead at half-time.
Grant Sitton led the Victoria scorers, finishing with a game-high 24 points. Behind him was Justin Kinnear, who earned a double-double with 18 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Taylor Montgomery-Stinson also finished in double digits, with 12 points.
Aldrich Berrios finished with a team-high 23 points for the Heat, while Ryan Morck put scored 11 points on a perfect five-for-five shooting night from the field.
Statistically, Saturday night’s game was a more even split than Friday night’s. The Heat were out-rebounded 40-32, but finished ahead in assists, 13-9, and shot better from the field (45.6% – 41%) and from the free-throw line (62.5% – 62.1%).
The Heat’s Canada West record is now 2-12, and the Vikes improve to 4-8 so far this season.
The UBC Okanagan Heat (2-8) have next weekend off, and will play next at the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns (8-6) on January 27 & 28. The University of Victoria Vikes (8-4) also play their next games against Lethbridge, on January 20 & 21 in Victoria.
UVIC: 23-16-23-13: 75
UBCO: 4-22-19-20: 65