VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds fought back from an early deficit against the Brandon Bobcats to take tonight’s Canada West men’s basketball match by a score of 107-76.
The Thunderbirds sweep the weekend series and extend their winning streak to six games. UBC improves to 7-5 while Brandon falls to 1-13.
The Bobcats came out hungry in the first quarter, looking to come back from their loss the previous night. Rookie guard Ryan Hawley hit a pair of three-point baskets, while senior Kenonte Ramsey added another as part of a 15-1 run in the first quarter that gave Brandon a double-digit lead at 20-10.
A layup and foul shot by Ali-Mounir Benabdelhak pushed the visitors’ lead to 25-14 with just under three minutes remaining.
UBC re-took the lead early in the second, thanks to seven straight points from Conor Morgan. With the T-Birds trailing 28-23, he completed a four-point play after hitting a three and the ensuing foul shot. After a Kedar Wright steal, Jordan Jensen-Whyte found Morgan, who nailed another triple to put UBC ahead. The two teams went back and forth before the home side scored five straight points to take a 48-43 lead into halftime.
For UBC head coach Kevin Hanson however, the real shift in momentum did not occur until the third quarter.
“I thought we were more disciplined defensively and shared the ball better in the second,” says Hanson.
After another Ramsey three-pointer got Brandon within four points a couple of minutes out of the half, the Thunderbirds scored the next 16 points to put the game away. One of the baskets in the run came from Jensen-Whyte, who with an attempted break-away pass to teammate Morgan, put the ball directly into the basket from halfcourt.
Layups from Earl Thompson, Jr., and Mikee Dosado late in the third cut UBC’s lead to 77-60 going into the final quarter.
That gap was cut to nine on a Ramsey three-pointer with about seven minutes to go but the Thunderbirds responded emphatically, going on a 23-2 run over the next five minutes
UBC’s top scorers were Nixon and Morgan, both of whom contributed 22 points to the offensive effort. Nixon also led all players with 12 rebounds. For Brandon, Ramsey led the team with 20 points.
Hanson is already geared up to get his team ready for their trip out to Langley to face the Trinity Western Spartans next weekend. The Spartans are 1-11 so far this season, and sit second to last in the conference. Hanson says this is no time for the team to relax however. “Preparation is the key to success….We’re not in a position to take anybody lightly.”
The Thunderbirds and Spartans will clash next weekend in Langley at 8 p.m. PST on Friday and 7 pm. PST on Saturday. You can follow the action by watching the live stream at canadawest.tv.
Brandon and Winnipeg will play a home-and-home doubleheader next weekend, with games on Thursday and Saturday.