TAYLORSVILLE On paper it looked like the kind of climate clash a meteorologist would love.
On the court, it was the Utah Snowbears that kept their cool and iced the Fresno HeatWave 119-105 at home to keep Utah unbeaten at 5-0 in the American Basketball Association.
The HeatWave never led, but when they cut a 15-point deficit to three with six minutes remaining, Snowbears coach Ike Austin sent his "Big Three," back out to put the game away.
Former Weber State star Harold Arceneaux, shooting guard Clay Tucker and 7-foot center Adam Parada stopped the HeatWave run cold, turning a three-point margin into 14 in just over three minutes.
Austin said his strategy coming into the game was to get some more minutes to his bench in preparation for the Snowbears' four-game road swing after facing off again tonight with Fresno at 7 in Salt Lake Community College's Liftetime Activities Center.
"I wanted to rest my starters," Austin said. "This was the game we felt we wanted to take a chance on."
Led by the guard tandem of Myron Allen and Demetrius Porter, Fresno made late runs in both halves only to see the 'Bears' starters put the game out of reach.
Arceneaux credited the five-game winning streak to outhustling other teams and the amount of time the Snowbears have spent together.
"I just think we work harder than every other team in the league. Our conditioning shows."
Arceneaux and former UC Irvine star Parada, who was one of the final cuts from the Sacramento Kings' summer roster, tied for a game-high 23 points.
Four other Snowbears finished in double figures as well.
Allen and Porter paced the HeatWave with 29 and 26 points, respectively, keeping the game competitive. They combined for their team's final 17 points of the first half, including three straight 3s for Allen.
The Snowbears will use a different strategy to get the starters some time off tonight, Austin said.
"We'll play our regular rotation and try to secure the win early," he said.
Austin expects the Snowbears' schedule to get tougher once they face a few teams in the Red Division that have more experience, like last year's ABA champions Long Beach.
His goal for the upcoming road trip is to win three out of four, which would give the Red Division-leaders a gaudy 8-1 record before returning home Dec. 9 to face Bellevue, the team they took two games from over Thanksgiving weekend.Notes: Guard Curtis Millage, who scored the first points in franchise history, did not dress for Monday's game because of a sprained hand. Forward Nick Vanderlaan was also placed on the injured list and replaced on the active roster by former NBA player Tony Farmer. Farmer has played with Golden State, Denver and the Charlotte Hornets, as well as professionally in Europe and South America.
E-mail: [email protected]