author: nathan mccarville | sports writer
From deep / nathan mccarville
Cougars sweep UBC Okanagan Heat in two game series
It was a good weekend for the Cougars after finishing both of their games against the University of British Columbia Okanagan Heat, winning both games. The men’s basketball team has improved their regular season record over the weekend to ten wins against four losses. After this weekend, the Cougars are set for two weekends away, facing off against the TRU Wolfpack this upcoming weekend in Kamloops, and the Winnipeg Wesmen the weekend after in Winnipeg, not coming home until the Cougars play their final regular season conferencegames against the Saskatchewan Huskies at the start of February.
The first game that the men played against the Okanagan Heat was met with what looked like an easy win. The game ended with a result of 92-53 for the Cougars, winning with a margin of 39 points. The massive margin was aided by top scoring players for the Cougars. Kameron Vales scored 15 points, Carter Millar had 14 points, and Brayden Kuski added 11 points in the game. The Cougars more than doubled the Heat’s score in the first two quarters of the game, scoring 27 and 28 in each, opposed only by the 13 points that the Heat scored.
Slowing down from their high-scoring plays, the Cougars maintained their margin while staying three points ahead of the Heat for the third, the Cougars scoring 21 while the heat scored 18. Finally, tired out from the previous parts of the game, the Cougars scored 16 points in the quarter, with the Heat scoring just 9. Top scoring players for the Heat included Aldrich Berrios with 17 points, and Triston Matthews, right behind his teammate with 16 points.
However, the results of the first game could not have foretold the happenings of the second game that the Cougars played that weekend. Okanagan unexpectedly brought the heat when they faced off against the Cougars for the second time. The Heat started off the game hot, gaining an early lead on the Cougars, beginning the game with some quick baskets while the Cougars barely had the chance to handle the ball.
After a quick first quarter, the score stood at 23-17 in favour of the Heat. Though the second quarter was where the Cougars began to bring their own heat to the court. A long pause over a penalty at 5:20 in the second set the game rolling once again with the Cougars sitting one point behind the Heat at 30-29. The Cougars finally came ahead over a minute and a half later at 3:42 with a precarious score of 34-33. Continuing the charge, the Cougars didn’t slow down their scoring until the half, where the scoreboard presented 43-35 in favour of the Cougars, giving the team a healthy margin with which to go into the second half of the game.
The scoreboard didn’t stray far from that eight-point margin mentioned earlier. In the third quarter, the Cougars scored 23 points, opposing the 20 points that the Heat scored in the quarter. Due to various three-pointers from “Downtown,” as the announcer put it at various times, the margin was kept by the Cougars. Ending the quarter with a bit of a breakaway, Benjamin Hillis’ last free throw for the third put the Cougars ahead by another point. Though the fourth quarter was where the excitement of the game resided.
Going into the last quarter of the game with a score of 66-55 in favour of the Cougars, they could not have anticipated the challenge that the Heat would provide. Early in the quarter, a staggering dribble by Clerjuste necessitated a lob across the court to his teammate, Myles Hamilton. Hamilton, being just behind the ball, passed the ball through his legs to Carter Millar who then scored a lay-up. The three-man move moved the Cougars score up to 70. With a minute remaining in the game, and a score of 80-77 being the unexpected score that the game had come to, Hillis took to the free throw line after a foul, putting another point in-between the Heat and the Cougars. Okanagan called a time out with 6.9 seconds left on the clock. Though, unfortunately, their three-point plan did not come to fruition in the last seconds of the game.
Seeming like there were three calls in the last 10 seconds of the game, the Heat did not get an opportunity for any last-second winning plays. One of the fouls called allowed Benjamin Hillis to score yet another basket, making the final score for the game 82-77 in favour of the Cougars. Unexpected, based on the previous game that the Cougars and the Heat played against one another, it was a great game to watch on both sides of the court.
A final score of 77 for the Heat with just five players contributing to that score, the scoring players for the visiting Heat go as follows: Triston Matthews with 28 points, who, unfortunately for the Heat, was removed from the game part way through the fourth quarter; Hafith Moallin with 21 points; Aldrich Berrios with 17 points; Philip Okanlawon with 9 points; followed by Jacob Stokker with 2 points.
Top scorers for the Cougars included Kameron Vales with 18 points, Carter Millar with 12 points, and Greishe Clerjuste, Myles Hamilton, and Nick Barnard with 10 points each.
The Cougars won’t be back on the U of R court for another home game until the beginning of February where they will face off against the U of S Huskies.