UBC loses a close game at Concordia

Conor Morgan

VANCOUVER – The host Concordia University Cavaliers scored the final four points of the game to escape with a 62-61 victory over the UBC Thunderbirds in non-conference men’s basketball action on Saturday night in Portland, Ore.
UBC forward Conor Morgan converted a layup with 1:43 left in regulation to put his team up 61-58, but Tyler Velasquez of Concordia made one of his own to make it 61-60. He then stole the ball and found Esvan Middleton, who made the game-winning layup with 17 seconds remaining in the second half.
Tommy Nixon‘s jump shot at the buzzer, which would have given UBC the victory, missed.
Morgan led UBC with 18 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Guard Jordan Jensen-Whyte scored 11 points and added six assists.
As a team, the Thunderbirds were 21-of-46 shooting (45.7 per cent) and 12-of-18 from the foul line. The Cavaliers made 25 of their 69 shots (36.2 per cent).
Morgan’s three-point bucket with 7:50 left in the second half to give UBC a 57-49 advantage. The blue and gold also held an eight-point cushion with 12:25 left in the second half when Jensen-Whyte’s layup capped off a 9-2 run over a span of just over two minutes that made the score 52-44.
Concordia led for the vast majority of the first 13 minutes of play. Jensen-Whyte made a layup with 7:41 left in the opening half to put his team ahead 24-23.  Despite the slim advantage, UBC did not trail again until Middleton’s final bucket. The T-Birds fended off just about every Cavaliers challenge.
With his team up 26-25, Morgan put down a dunk to give his team a three-point edge. Concordia scored on the next possession and Morgan replied with a three-point bucket and a foul shot. UBC took a 37-33 lead into the halftime break.
Tonight’s loss concludes the preseason portion of the Thunderbirds’ 2014-15 schedule. The team went 4-3 against university competition in seven non-conference games. The Canada West regular season gets underway next weekend as UBC hosts the University of Victoria for two games Nov. 7-8 at War Memorial Gym.