Zachary Worden, Cougars Athletics
CALGARY, AB – The Mount Royal University Cougars and UBC Okanagan Heat wrapped up their weekend series on Saturday night at Kenyon Court. In the first game of the series on Friday, the Cougars came away with the 85-73 victory. The Heat were able to split the series and come away with the second game win, beating the Cougars by a score of 80-78 in a game that was tight throughout.
UBCO was led offensively by Aldrich Berrios who scored 30 points and exploded in the third quarter. Hafith Moallin also carried a big load on the offensive end with 21 points and also made a difference on the defensive end with six steals.
The Cougars offense was led by LJ Hegwood, who notched a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Nick Tancon and Glen Yang both came close to double-doubles. Yang scored 13 points and added eight rebounds, while Tancon finished with 17 points and nine rebounds, making a big difference for the MRU offense in the fourth quarter.
In the first quarter MRU scored their first nine points on threes. Their hot shooting sparked them as they broke out to an early lead, which saw Yang score eight points and a Hegwood breakaway jam.
Moallin hit a three for the Heat at the first quarter buzzer, cutting the Cougars' lead was to six after the first 10 minutes.
Despite the hot start for the Cougars, the Heat responded in the second quarter with a 12-6 run to tie the game. They shot 47% in the quarter and found more success getting to the rim.
The Cougars wouldn't let the game stay tied for long, as they retook their lead and were able to keep it right to the end of the first half. Once the second quarter finished, they led 37-33. Hegwood had 12 points in the first half, making five of his seven shot attempts and leading the MRU attack through the first 20 minutes.
Moallin led the Heat in scoring through the first half. He had 11 points which included three three-pointers. Triston Matthews was also key to the Heat in the first half as he scored seven points and led the team in rebounds with eight.
The Heat got right back into the game in the third. Right out of the halftime break Berrios scored 11 of the team's first 13 points in the first three minutes. His scoring sparked a 13-4 run that gave them a lead and forced a Cougars' timeout.
Out of their timeout, MRU went on a run of their own and retook the lead. They scored eight straight points and turned their defense into offense.
After a fading three-pointer at the buzzer from Berrios, the Heat took a one point into the final quarter. Berrios scored 19 points in the third and hit seven of his nine shot attempts, including three three-pointers.
The teams started the fourth quarter by trading the lead, going up and down the court. Both teams executed their offenses throughout the quarter and were able to match an opponent score with a basket of their own.
After all the back and forth action MRU took a one-point lead into the final minute. Berrios came up big for the Heat and hit a jump shot with 25 seconds left, to put the pressure back on the Cougars.
The Cougars drew up a play and turned the ball over after a high pass, but the Heat turned the ball over and fouled Matthew Guinto, who made his way to the line to make one of two free throws, tying the game with 15 seconds left.
Out of a timeout, David Okoroafor was fouled with four seconds left, stepped to the free throw line and knocked down both to give the Heat the lead.
The Cougars ended up missing a three at the buzzer and the Heat were able to come away with the win.
Both teams will tip-off new weekend series on Friday, November 23rd. The Cougars will host the MacEwan Griffins at Kenyon Court. Meanwhile, the Heat head to Kamloops to face-off with the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack. All games can be streamed live on www.canadawest.tv.