Vancouver – The UBC Thunderbirds men’s basketball team continue its four game road trip with a visit to Winnipeg for a two-game series against the University of Winnipeg Wesmen. After dropping the first three games of the season, the Thunderbirds got theier first win of the season in a 89-84 win over Alberta on Saturday, UBC head coach Kevin Hanson‘s 600th career victory.
Through four games, UBC sits in ninth place in the Pioneers Division thanks to a 1-3 record with two games in hand over the Wesmen, which sits in seventh with a .500 record through six games. The Wesmen had a three game winning streak snapped on Saturday, falling to Saskatchewan in a tight 71-68 loss. This weekend’s series will mark the end of the first half of the season for the Wesmen who haven’t had a bye thus far.
Tommy Nixon led the Thunderbirds in scoring in each of the first three games before Kedar Wright put up his biggest offensive numbers of the season, scoring 19 against the Alberta Golden Bears. Wright, a member of the 2013 Canada West All-Rookie team, suited up for just the second time during the regular season on Saturday, showing no signs of rust after coming off an early season injury.
The T-Birds have had some consistent showings on the boards as three different UBC players have led the team collecting game highs in rebounds including Tonner Jackson (2), Brylle Kamen, and Nixon. Both Jackson and Kamen are averaging 5.0 rebounds per game while Nixon sits at 3.8 per game, to go along with a team leading 15.8 points per game average.
The Wesmen counter with three players averaging over 10 points per game led by Jelane Pryce who’s been putting up 14.3 points per game. The forward also leads the team in rebounds, averaging 6.8 boards per game playing in all six of his team’s games this season. Pryce is coming off back-to-back double-doubles scoring 41 points and grabbing rebounds in a recent weekend split against the Huskies.
Saturday’s game versus Alberta was the first time this season the T-Birds scored in excess of 80 points in a game, while the Wesmen have done it in three out of their first six games. The Wesmen’s biggest game came against Lethbridge on November 8 against Lethbridge winning by 28 points in an 86-58 rout.
The Thunderbirds took their only game against their Manitoba Rival last season defeating the Wesmen 95-93 in a thrilling home game that went down to the wire.
Much like this season, UBC started last season in a similar fashion struggling to a 2-4 through the first six games but the win versus the aforementioned Wesmen signaled a turnaround before the Christmas break.
The games will be streamed live on Canada West TV Friday at 6 p.m. PST and Saturday at 5 p.m. PST.