EDMONTON, AB – The UBC Okanagan Heat men’s basketball team fell to the Grant MacEwan University Griffins on Friday night. The final score was 74-62 for the home side in the MacEwan Gym.
The Heat were ahead through the first quarter, up a single point 15-14 after the first ten minutes. The second quarter was the difference-maker, though, as the Griffins put up 26 points while holding the Heat to 12. A single point was the difference in scoring through the second half, so the half-time lead was carried through to the final buzzer.
The Heat had the better night at the free throw line (81% – 71.4%), but MacEwan finished with the better field goal percentage (46.8% – 35%) and three-point percentage (31.6% – 23.1%). The Griffins out-rebounded the Heat 43-33, got 27 points from their bench while the Heat got 20, and were dominant down low, scoring 10 points in the paint and holding the Heat to just two.
Aldrich Berrios and Austin Penrose finished tied for the game-high in points, scoring 16 apiece for the Heat. Penrose also led the Heat in rebounds, finishing with seven.
Denzel James had a team-high 15 points for the Griffins, followed by Ryan Coleman (14), Keith Gerdes (13), and Thadius Galvez (12). Coleman and Gerdes also tied for the team-high with eight rebounds each.
The second quarter tells the story of the game, as it was essentially when the Griffins established their double-digit lead. The score in the quarter was 26-12 for the home side, as they held all but two Heat players off the scoresheet in the frame. Berrios and Buzz Truss were the lone scorers for UBCO, with six points apiece. Gerdes was able to put away nine of his 13 points in the second, leading the MacEwan takeover. The Griffins shot 57.1% from long range in the quarter, making four of their seven three-point attempts. They also shot 60% from the field, making nine of 15.
The third and fourth quarters were much more even, as the second half saw the Heat score 35 points and the Griffins 34, reducing the 13-point half-time lead to 12 at the final buzzer. A layup by Berrios with 3:56 left in the third brought the difference within single digits for the first time in the second half, with the Heat down nine points at 49-40. Near the end of the third, with 55 seconds left, a three-pointer from Matt LaFontaine brought the Heat within nine points again, down 57-48.
As close as the Heat would come would be down by eight points, at two different points in the fourth quarter. Another three-pointer from Berrios with 7:20 left made the score 61-53, and a jump shot from Noma Obaseki with 3:10 to go made it 65-57. Despite five straight made free-throws by Berrios, the Heat wouldn’t close the gap, and the final score was 74-62 with the last basket coming on a jump shot from Ryan Coleman with 45 seconds left.
The UBC Okanagan Heat (2-15) and the MacEwan Griffins (6-11) will play again Saturday night, with tip-off set for 7 p.m. Mountain Time (6 p.m. Pacific) in the MacEwan Gym.
~ Grayson Leahy, UBC Okanagan; with notes from Jefferson Hagen / MacEwan Athletics