Thunderbirds leave Mustangs in the dust, winning by 17

Conor Morgan

Vancouver, BC – The UBC Thunderbirds men’s basketball team picked up its third straight exhibition victory with an 87-70 win over the Western Mustangs Friday afternoon at War Memorial Gymnasium. The Thunderbirds spread the ball around with five players finishing in double figures scoring.

Brylle Kamen led the way for UBC with a double-double, 19 points and 11 rebounds. Conor Morgan finished with 17 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks, Tonner Jackson and David Wagner each had 12 points respectively, and Andrew McGuinness chipped in with 11 points of his own.

“That’s our team this year,” said Morgan. “Even though we didn’t play our best tonight we still won by 17. We have the potential to be that good. If you look up at the scoreboard after the game we have multiple guys in double digits scoring, we just have guys that can do it every night.”

Western’s Quinn Henderson led the Mustangs with 22 points, including five three-pointers.

UBC’s McGuinness and Western’s Tom Filgiano started the scoring for both teams each trading three-pointers and jumpers for an early 5-5 tie. The Thunderbirds started to work the ball down low to Wagner who would score six points in the quarter putting the Thunderbirds up by six. McGuinness would add another three-pointer to give him eight points in the opening quarter and UBC an 18-9 lead after 10 minutes of play.

Kamen extended UBC’s lead to 11 early in the second quarter with a three pointer, 21-9. However, the Mustangs would claw back on the strength of Henderson’s outside shooting. He hit back to back three-pointers to cut the lead to just three points, 26-23 UBC with 4:32 left in the opening half. The Thunderbirds would restore their double-digit lead later in the quarter. Kamen converted a three point play to give the home side a 35-23 lead. However, Western scored five straight points to end the quarter and go into the break down 35-28.

McGuinness led UBC with 11 points in the first half on 4-of-7 shooting. Henderson was the top scorer for Western with nine points.

Henderson continued his stellar shooting from beyond the arc in the third quarter to keep the Mustangs within distance. UBC went up by 10, 41-31 after a Jordan Jensen-Whyte bucket, but Henderson responded with one of three, three-pointers in the quarter to cut the lead to seven. The Thunderbirds took advantage of being in the bonus with over four minutes left in the quarter. They were a perfect 10-for-10 from the line. Kamen scored six points in the frame to keep UBC in front 59-50 after three quarters of play.

The Thunderbirds opened up a 15 point lead early in the fourth quarter after Tommy Nixon converted a hoop and harm and Morgan drained a three pointer. In fact Morgan would take over in the final frame, scoring 13 of his 17 points on the night in the fourth quarter. 87-70 was the final.

Morgan who missed all of last year due to injury continues to find his groove after missing an entire season.

“We put in a new offence in this year which we are still polishing up and I haven’t played in a year so I am still shaking the rust off,” said Morgan. “The biggest thing for us this season is to share the basketball. I thought we moved it around much better tonight and if we do that we will have a very good year.”

Greg Morrow and Anthony Spiridis both fouled out early in the fourth quarter for Western. UBC finished the night 20-of-28 from the foul line. 

UBC will be back in action tomorrow afternoon when they play host to the University of Windsor at 3:00 pm at War Memorial Gymnasium.