Langley, BC – UBC’s Tommy Nixon put up a ridiculous 45 points as the Thunderbirds defeated Trinity Western in a 107-89 rout on Friday evening. The visiting T-Birds team put up 63 points in the first half alone, which was more than enough to earn a win over their mainland rival, extending the team’s win streak to seven games.
Nixon tops his previous career-high in points, which he accomplished on January 9 against Lethbridge by scoring 36 that night. Tonight, Nixon went 12-for-17 from the field, including a staggering 17-for-20 from the free throw line, while also leading the team in rebounds with nine. Taylor Henrichs and Denny McDonald tied for a team-high 18 points for host Trinity Western.
“Tommy (Nixon) played simply great tonight,” said UBC head coach Kevin Hanson. “He is playing very determined basketball and he worked hard to get those points and rebounds. Once again he was solid defensively as well adding five steals to his stat line.”
Nixon’s performance ranks third all-time for most points scored by UBC player in a single game. J. D. Jackson holds the record with 51 points, set on Decmeber 12, 1989. Ron Thorsen is second all-time with 48 points. A mark he set on January 31, 1970.
The Thunderbirds have now scored 100 points in three of their last seven games, as the team’s offense has been lights out as of late. Prior to this run, the Thunderbirds had not eclipsed the 100-point mark in a Canada West conference game since November 19, 2011.
UBC improves to three games above .500 sitting in fifth place in the Pioneer Division with an 8-5 record. The Spartans’ season continues to slip away as the Langley-based school drops to 1-12 on the season, in the midst of a six game losing streak.
The Thunderbirds looked like a team that had averaged over 100 points in its previous two games, tearing up the Trinity Western defence for 39 points in the opening quarter en route to a 39-19 lead. The Spartans took an early 8-4 lead before the Thunderbirds scored 11 of the game’s next 13 points to take control. Nixon had 14 points alone in the first quarter as the Thunderbirds shot 13-for-17 (76.5 per cent) from the field.
“The first quarter was a big one and we executed on offence very well,” said Hanson. “Once we got the early lead we seemed to just trade baskets for the rest of the game. It’s nice to get the win, but we still have to keep focusing on what we are trying to achieve.”
The quarter’s 39-point output was the team’s highest of the season, resulting in an incredible 63-point first half.
Both teams traded near identical scoring in the second quarter as UBC had 55 points on the board with 4:19 still on the clock. By half time, UBC had staked itself to a 19-point, 63-44 lead led by Nixon’s 23-point first half. Andrew McGuiness and Conor Morgan both had 10 points apiece while Trinity Western’s Heinrichs scoring eight points off the bench.
The Spartans bounced back quickly in the third quarter, scoring several quick buckets to dwindle the T-Birds lead to 10 points, in large part due to the bench presence of McDonald. McDonald had 12 points midway through the third before finishing the game with 18 points, along with 10 rebounds as he was the only player Friday to grab a double-double. Nixon, who scored 11 of UBC’s first 13 points in the quarter, helped the T-Birds maintain their double-digit lead, to offset the Spartans’ surge.
Nixon continued to wreak havoc on the Spartans’ defence as the fifth-year veteran had 39 points by the end of the third quarter, as his team enjoyed a 19-point, 87-78 lead once again.
The fourth quarter was a similar story as the T-Birds maintained their 20-point lead through the remainder of the game to easily win by an 18-point, 107-89 margin. UBC finished the game shooting 50 per cent from the field while TWU shot 41.7 per cent, but the latter did manage to out-rebound UBC by a 55-32 margin.
Tonner Jackson had six points for the Thunderbirds in his first game against his former team on Friday evening. McGuiness had a solid 17-point effort while Jordan Jensen-Whyte chipped in with 15 points himself.
UBC will seek its fourth consecutive weekend sweep when the two teams meet again tomorrow night, with a 7 p.m. tipoff at the Langley Events Centre.