UBC survives late rally to defeat Saskatchewan 101-94

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VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds’ offence came alive Friday night in a 101-94 victory over the Saskatchewan Huskies in Canada West men’s basketball action. UBC put up a season-high 58 points in the first half alone, and had a 18-point lead at half time, a lead they wouldn’t relinquish reaching the century-mark for the first time this season.
 
“It’s always good to win games for your confidence, especially coming back home after a couple of tough weeks where we’ve been on a slide,” said Brylle Kamen who put up 14 points on the night. “It was a tough game but this definitely helps us come back stronger tomorrow giving us some momentum to end the first half of the season.”
 
The Thunderbirds had a 21-point lead, its largest of the game, at the 6:57 mark of the third quarter, but saw that advantage dwindle down to just two points in the latter stages of the game. UBC would maintain its composure and stay in control and safely come away with a seven-point victory by the final whistle.
 
Tommy Nixon had a season-high 30 points on the night, matching Saskatchewan’s Mike Scott’s output. In total, four T-Birds reached the double-digits in points including Nixon and Kamen, along with Connor Morgan (17) and Tonner Jackson (15).
 
Friday night’s victory was UBC’s sixth straight win over the Huskies, dating all the way back to the 2010-2011 season as the T-Birds improve to 2-5 on the season. Meanwhile, Saskatchewan sees its three-game winning streak come to an end, as the Huskies fall to 4-3 on the season.


 
Thanks to Nixon’s 11-point first quarter, the Thunderbirds had as much as a 14-point lead before the Huskies scored two straight baskets to cut the T-Birds lead to 30-21 through one quarter of action. The Thunderbirds 30-point first quarter more than matched its first half output from their previous game last Saturday.
 
UBC continued its scoring barrage in the second quarter, draining three consecutive three-pointers, gaining a 17-point lead midway through the quarter before ultimately taking a 58-40 lead at half.  
 
Nixon was unstoppable in the first half, missing just one tray going 5-for-6 from beyond the arc to go along with a pair of free throws, en route to a 17-point first half. As a whole, the Thunderbirds shot 55.9 per cent from the field, and went 8-for-18 from three-point range through two quarters.
 
Saskatchewan’s Scott helped keep the Huskies within striking range, putting up a team-high 15 points in the first half, finishing 5-for-9 from the field. The Huskies committed 15 turnovers in the half, however, which the Huskies paid the price for on this Black Friday. By game’s end, the Huskies had 25 turnovers on the team’s ledger.
 
Dadrian Collins was kept off the board in the first half after getting into foul trouble, and ultimately fouled out late in the game. The Williamsburg, Virginia, native was held to just six points after putting up 39 over a two-game span last weekend.
 
With a healthy 82-68 advantage to start the fourth quarter, the Thunderbirds looked to be cruising to victory before the Huskies showed some fight and made things interesting. A one-possession ball game ensued in the final minutes but thanks to some clutch scoring, UBC was able to come away with the victory.
 
UBC finished the night shooting 45.1 per cent from the field, on par with their season average, versus Saskatchewan’s 43.8 per cent shooting.
 
Matthew Forbes and Connor Burns had the game’s only two double doubles on Friday, with Forbes collecting 13 rebounds complimented nicely with 17 points. Burns collected 13 points and 10 rebounds on the night. For UBC, not only did Nixon led his team in points, the fifth-year forward had a team-high seven rebounds while Jordan Jensen-Whyte had a game-high nine assists.
 
A 7 p.m. rematch will conclude the season’s first half tomorrow night at War Memorial Gym. 

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