EDMONTON — For the second-straight night, the #5 University of Alberta Golden Bears put on an offensive clinic against the University of British Columbia-Okanagan Heat. Every Bears player hit the scoresheet and Alberta shot 53.2% from the field in a dominant 87-53 victory, Saturday night at Saville Community Sports Centre.
Sophomore forward Adam Paige led Alberta with 16 points, six rebounds, two assists, and three steals, while senior guard Andre Kelly chipped in with 13 points, four rebounds, and four assists for Alberta as five Bears players hit double-digits in scoring as the Golden Bears improved to 11-1 in conference play.
Third-year guard Philip Okanlawon led UBCO with 14 points and four rebounds in the loss as UBCO drops to 1-13.
“Going into this weekend, we wanted to focus on every play and possession with a championship mentality,” said Paige. “We know the competition we’ll be facing come playoff time and we can’t afford to take a play off.”
The Bears got off to a strong start in the first quarter and led 24-13, but turned it up a few notches in the second quarter and led 44-25 at the half.
UBCO led for just 42 seconds in the game as Alberta took control right from the opening tip and sent a strong message to UBCO that they weren’t messing around in their weekend finale.
“Coming out strong and not giving them any kind of hope in the beginning was key. We wanted to set the tone early and not give them any kind of momentum heading into halftime,” said Paige.
The big lead once again allowed Golden Bears head coach Barnaby Craddock to give his bench quality minutes in the second half and they came through once again.
Freshman guard Max Russell scored 10 points and three rebounds and hit two big treys in over 15 minutes of action.
“One thing that coach Barnaby has stressed all year is for everyone to share the ball a lot. We don’t have one person on our team that team opposition can key on. Our go-to scorer is whoever is hot,” said Paige. “Tonight, the young guys came in and put up some big shots and we had real good ball movement all weekend.”
The Bears are consistently led by seniors like Dwan Williams, Andre Kelly, and Cole Knudsen, but this weekend showed that they have plenty of weapons the team can draw on for offensive production.
“Teams can’t key on one person. Everyone is a threat. Everyone can shoot it and it just makes it so much harder to guard us,” said Paige.
Alberta will play their fellow Edmonton-based team, the MacEwan Griffins, in a home-and-home series starting Thursday at MacEwan and wrapping up Saturday at home, while UBCO will host the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves next weekend.