BY DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
They don't care how you win, they just care how many you win.
Points-wise it was one of the Winnipeg Wesmen's least productive games of the season, but it was still enough to score a 67-54 win over the UBC-Okanagan Heat and, in the process, put themselves one step closer to hosting a playoff game.
The Wesmen win officially clinched a playoff spot for U of W, which will go back to the Canada West post-season for the sixth straight season.
The Wesmen won for the sixth time in the last seven games and did so with their lowest point total in a victory this season.
William Sesay and Denzel Lynch-Blair led five players in double figures with 14 points each. Sesay added five rebounds and shot 6 of 7 from the field, the most efficient night of the season for the third-year guard.
"You always hit shots, you always feel good about yourself," said Sesay, who has now scored in double figures in four straight games after a span of nine straight games in single digits. "The most important thing though is my teammates are always behind me and always just trying to boost me up."
Sean Tarver had 10 points and 11 rebounds, his third double-double in his last four games, and Nate Johnson, who will be honoured on Senior Night on Saturday, had 13 points off the bench. Narcisse Ambanza also had 10 points.
"We're super-amped. We've been talking about this day and all of us are trying to do it for Nate," Sesay said of Johnson. "It's his last year and we're just trying to get as far as we can just for him. He's given this program endless effort and hasn't complained once. A guy like that, you just wanna give back to him."
The win moved Winnipeg to 9-10 on the season and another win Saturday would secure a home game in the first round of playoffs next week. With a win, the Wesmen would also secure their sixth straight season with at least a .500 record.
Aldrich Berrios led the Heat (2-17) with 19 points and hit 5 of 9 from three. Triston Matthews added 10 points, and Kyrin Cebenko had a game-high 14 rebounds.
Leading 36-22 at the half, the Wesmen were outscored 25-16 in the third quarter as the Heat clawed back to within four at one point. A 9-2 to Wesmen run to start the fourth, however, tilted things back in the home team's favour and the Heat were not able to get the deficit lower than nine the rest of the way.