VICTORIA – The lead changed hands 11 times in the final four minutes of play as the UBC Okanagan Heat men’s basketball scored the game-winning points with just 1.2 seconds left on the clock to defeat the UVic Vikes by a score of 73-72 inside the CARSA Performance Gym on Oct. 27.
This marks the first win in their Canada West history for UBC Okanagan over the Victoria Vikes in seven tries dating back to 2011.
After trailing by ten points entering the final quarter of play, the Vikes fought back to take the lead with just seven seconds left on the clock when second-year Vike Scott Kellum stepped up and knocked down three free-throws in a row.
The Heat weren’t going to be denied their first win of the 2017-18 season however, Aldrich Berrios received the inbounds pass, sprinted up the floor and got the tough bucket to fall to give the Heat the victory.
“He makes it easy for me,” said Guarasci of Berrios. “At the end of the game I know he wants to take the shot and whether he makes it or not doesn’t matter because I know that he wants it.”
The Vikes trailed for much of the contest, down by as many as 15 in the third quarter before they stormed back late to make a game of it.
Triston Matthews hit a three to close out the first quarter and the Heat led from there until the Vikes took the lead over at 4:13 in the fourth quarter where the last dramatic four minutes took place.
“I thought it was a very tightly-contested game,” said Heat head coach Pete Guarasci. “UVic is always a difficult place to play, they are well coached and organized so I am really proud of our boys and how much they battled to keep playing the game in front of them and not the scoreboard.”
Heat scoring leaders
A trio of guards led the way for UBC Okanagan scoring 63 of the team’s 73 total points.
Second-year guard Triston Matthews of the Heat led the game in scoring, recording 27 points and seven rebounds, a career high for the North Vancouver product.
“Triston didn’t have the best exhibition season but he kept on working and I’m so happy for him that tonight he had this kind of reward because he definitely deserves it,” said Guarasci.
Berrios added 19 points on eight-for-fifteen shooting while Aloysius Callaghan, a fourth year transfer in his first action with the Heat, rounded out the scoring for the Heat with 17 points.
First time action
After Callaghan there were several new faces hitting the floor for the Heat for the first time on Friday night amongst those were Kyrin Cybenko Owen Keyes, Jacob Stokker and Mahamed Omar.
Vikes scoring leaders
Mason Loewen led the game for the Vikes as the fourth-year player shone in the first Canada West action of his career with 24 points. Scott Kellum added 13 points, seven of which came from the free-throw line while Justin Kinnear put up 12 points and seven rebounds.
The two teams are back in action on the Ken and Kathy Shields Court inside the CARSA Performance Gym for a game that gets underway at 7 p.m