VANCOUVER – The No. 7-ranked UBC Thunderbirds men’s basketball team lost 85-79 to the No. 10 University of Victoria Vikes in their Saturday night rematch at War Memorial Gymnasium in Vancouver.
The Vikes are now 4-0 on the season, while the T-Birds drop to 0-2.
“Some of the possessions just weren’t there, and I think that’s what cost us the game both nights. We just have go back and make every detail count,” said fifth-year forward Brylle Kamen.
Tommy Nixon led UBC with 23 points and six assists while Victoria’s Chris McLaughlin had 31 points.
Both teams had four players reach double digits on the scoresheet.
In addition to Nixon, Kamen chipped in with 15 points while David Wagner and Tonner Jackson both contributed 12 for the T-Birds this evening.
Reiner Thiel scored 15 for UVic, while Marcus Tibbs and Jordan Charles recorded 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Victoria led 48-40 at the half but UBC opened the third quarter by scoring the first eight points. Nixon opened up the proceedings with a three-point jump shot and was followed by Jackson, who converted a layup and then a three-point basket for the T-Birds. Conor Morgan‘s trey with 7:08 left in the third gave UBC its first lead since the opening frame at 51-50.
While the Vikes took a slim 67-63 lead into the fourth, their advantage had been as large as 10 points late in the third thanks to an 8-0 run, which saw triples from Thiel and Charles as well as a layup from Patrick Pilato.
The fourth quarter was an exciting back-and-forth affair. Each time the Vikes created some separation, the T-Birds fought back. Kamen’s and-one play early in the fourth closed the gap to two points, as did a jumper from Jordan Jensen-Whyte with 7:28 left in regulation. Still, UBC did not manage to take a lead in the fourth as Victoria converted enough chances on offence to maintain its lead. McLaughlin went 3-for-4 from the field in the fourth quarter and the Vikes as a team, were 5-of-10. UBC made four of its 14 shots in the final period. Both squads made eight of 11 attempts from the foul line.
Six of UBC’s eight points in the last two minutes were taken from the foul line. Starting with 1:58 on the clock, Nixon drew two back-to-back fouls, and converted all four of his free throws, making the score 79-75. Tibbs responded with a hard drive to the basket to put his team up 81-75, and then proceeded to foul Jensen-Whyte, who converted his free throws putting the Thunderbirds back within four points.
Victoria’s Mack Roth and Thiel made their foul shots in between a Jackson layup for UBC to round out the scoring.
Both teams shot the ball well on Saturday night. The T-Birds made 29 of their 56 shots (51.8 per cent) while the Vikes were even better at 31-of-54 (57.4 per cent). UBC was 7-of-26 from behind the three-point line and Victoria was good 10 of its 23 attempts. The home side had a slight rebounding edge at 27-23.
Kamen is optimistic about the prospects for his team moving forward.
“This week we have to go back to practice and want to work harder and hopefully have better preparation for next weekend,” he said.
The Thunderbirds will go on a road-trip to Edmonton next weekend, where they will face the Universty of Alberta (3-1). Victoria will head to Saskatoon for two games against the University of Saskatchewan (1-1).
Both series will be streamed live at canadawest.tv.