Kelowna, BC – A fourth quarter comeback attempt fell short in the final Canada West men's basketball game of 2017 at the UBC Okanagan gymnasium as the Manitoba Bisons held off the home UBC Okanagan Heat 76-64 on Saturday night.
Not surprisingly the comeback was spurred by the scoring of fourth year UBCO guard Aldrich Berrios, who sizzled in the second half with21 points in the final 20 minutes, including a perfect three-for-three for behind the arc. The shooting guard would finish the game with 27 points on 8 of 11 shooting from the floor.
The second–half Heat defense was much improved, as they held the Bison to 37% shooting from the field in the second half and 8% from three point land.
The Bisons maintained their lead by hitting on 11 of 13 from the charity stripe to hang on for the win.
The loss however send the Heat into the December break with a 2-8 record while Manitoba rides into the break on a three game winning streak, an 8-4 record, and sole possession of fifth place in the CW standings.
The conference action kicks back up in early January.
Both teams got off to hot starts offensively in the first quarter shooting over 50% from the field for much of the frame and at the end of one the Bisons led 21-16.
In the second Ben Kornelsen would get a layup to go with just under five minutes to go to cut the Bison lead to just two points at 27-25. But the hometown Heat would score just four points following Kornelsen's bucket and trailed by 12 points going into halftime 41-29.
17 first half turnovers for UBCO led to the big halftime deficit. The visiting Bison were extremely efficient on offense in the first 20 minutes as they shot 55% from the field and had just six turnovers.
Forward Cam Servatius led all Heat players in the first half with 11 points on four-for-five shooting and a perfect three-for-three from the charity stripe.
Bisons' big man James Wagner led all scorers at the break with 13 points.
The pace slowed down in the third quarter with both teams switching up their defensive schemes and neither team finding much rhythm on the offensive end.
The Heat scored just seven points in the frame but would only be down by 16, as Manitoba had just 11 points in the quarter.
A hot start to the fourth quarter for UBCO would make things interesting, as Patrick Dujmovic provided a spark off the bench and an Aldrich Berrios jumper would cut the lead to single-digits at 54-45 with six minutes to go in the game. This would be as close as the home team would get, eventually falling by a final score of 76-64.
Inside the numbers:
- The turnover margin proved costly for the home team, as UBCO committed 26 turnovers in the game, compared to just 15 for the Bison.
- The Heat would outshot the visitors from behind the arc in the game, as they were 6 of 18 (33%) compared to just 3 of 20 (15%) for Manitoba.
- Both teams were extremely efficient from the charity-stripe in the game, as the Heat shot 92% (12 of 13) with the Bisons not far behind at 81% (17 of 21)
- Cam Servatius would finish with 14 points and a team-high eight rebounds in the game to help the Heat on the inside
- Guard Patrick Dujmovic played his best game of his Heat career on Friday night, as he had nine points and seven rebounds coming off the bench which are both career-highs.
- The Bisons were led by big-man James Wagner, who was an efficient 8-11 shooting, and would finish with a team-high 22 points on the night
- Justus Alleyn, who came in as the second leading scorer in the conference, would struggle on Saturday night as he went just 5 of 17 and would finish with 16 points
The Heat will be back at it in January, when they travel to Prince George to face the UNBC Timberwolves on Jan. 5th and 6th. The University of Manitoba play host to league-leading Lethbridge Pronghorns (10-2) that first weekend in January.
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat sports information