EDMONTON — Despite a double-double from point guard Hafith Moallin, the Heat fell to the No. 5 ranked Alberta Golden Bears on Friday night at Saville Community Sports Center.
Alberta finished with six players in double-figures while knocking down 13 three-points for the convincing victory.
Moallin had 13 points and 12 boards in a losing effort for the Heat, while Philip Okanlawon finished with 13 points of his own.
Senior guard Andre Kelly led Alberta with 17 points, three rebounds, one assist, and one steal, while sophomore forward Adam Paige chipped in with 13 points, six rebounds, two assists, and one steal. Senior forward Cole Knudsen netted 11 points, five rebounds, two steals, and one assist.
Every member of the Bears hit the scoresheet including freshman forward Daniel McLaren who recorded a career-high seven points and one rebound in just under 10 minutes of action as Alberta improved to (10-1) in conference play. UBCO fell to (1-12) with the loss and haven't picked up a victory since early November.
It was a long layoff for Alberta with the turn of the semester, Christmas break, and a bye in the opening week of second-half action last week, but the Golden Bears showed no rust.
They led (28-18) after the opening quarter, and increased their double-digit lead to 30 points at the half (57-27). Alberta was able to hold the Heat to just nine points in the second frame thanks to some stingy defense.
Alberta continued to pour it on and showed no mercy as they led by 40 going into the fourth quarter.
That allowed Bears head coach Barnaby Craddock to give some of his young talent quality minutes in the fourth quarter and the likes of McLaren, Brandon Meiklejohn, and Lars Ishimwe didn't let their coach down as they knocked down big fourth-quarter shots to extinguish the Heat for good.
Alberta shot 54% from the field, including 45% from beyond the arc (13-of-29). The Golden Bears forced UBCO to commit 25 turnovers and recorded 11 steals.
Alberta will look to win their sixth-straight game when they wrap up their weekend series with UBCO on Saturday. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. MT.
~ Jason Hills, Alberta Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics