Vancouver, BC – Down two points with six seconds left on the clock, Calgary’s Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson drained a three-pointer at the buzzer to hand the T-Birds a 93-92 loss on Friday night. The T-Birds erased an 11-point first half deficit to take a late game lead but couldn’t hold on suffering their first defeat since November 22.
UBC’s Kedar Wright drained a pair of free throws to take the lead late, but UBC was unable to distance themselves beyond a one-possession game and fell victim to the sharp shooting of Ogungbemi-Jackson. The 5-foot-9 point guard scrambled down the floor, and threw up a distant three, which caromed off the backboard to silence the home crowd.
The Dinos third all-time leading scorer was impressive all night making crisp passes, disciplined shots and controlling the Dinos backcourt, capped off by 14 fourth-quarter points.
“We had three fouls we could have taken but it was a scramble and he [Jarred] made an amazing shot,” added Wright after the game. “Sometimes on lengthy winning streaks you get a bit complacent, but it was a wakeup call and we have to come back strong tomorrow for the split.”
The loss drops the T-Birds to 9-6, taking the loss after riding an eight-game win streak into tonight’s tipoff, while the No. 10 ranked Dinos improve to 12-4. It was just the third time this season that the Thunderbirds have finished a game with a margin of victory fewer than five points, in either a win or a loss.
Friday was the second consecutive game in which five Thunderbirds have scored in excess of 10 points each. Nixon led all T-Birds with 19 points while Calgary’s Philip Brandt led all scorers with a season-high 26 points. Wright had 18 points himself, his second highest offensive output this season.
UBC made their first three field goals, including a pair of layups by Jensen-Whyte, to take an early lead before Calgary’s Barndt had an emphatic dunk helping the visiting Dinos take a 14-13 lead. Every T-Bird had gotten on the score sheet by the 5:00 minute mark of the opening quarter but that wasn’t enough to prevent Calgary from taking a 27-23 lead at the end of one.
To make matters worse, the Dinos drained a trio of consecutive trays to start the second to carve an 11-point lead.
Ogungbemi-Jackson didn’t grab his first point until 4:30 of the second quarter but drained an acrobatic layup weaving through a pair of Thunderbirds, increasing his Dinos’ lead to 15 points.
A string of fouls ensued including a unsportsmanlike call, a technical foul against the Calgary coach, and a rarely seen ejection after LJ Hegwood got tangled up and kicked a Thunderbirds player. This helped UBC score four points in the span of six seconds, and aided the team in cutting the Dinos’ lead to just seven, 48-41, by half time.
The duo of Barndt and Lars Schlueter absolutely dominated the first half accounting for 31 of the Dinos’ 48 first-half points. Brandt was the better of the two, grabbing 19-points in the first half shooting 9-for-11 from the field, and 1-for-1 from three-point range. The Billings, Montana native leads the Canada West in three-point shooting percentage (56.2%).
The T-Birds quickly cut that lead to four to start the third, but Brandt continued to toy with the T-Birds defense first draining a bucket, and the foul, followed by a jump shot to mitigate the T-Birds previous baskets. Brandt tied his season-high in points just three minutes into the third quarter.
Fortunately, the T-Birds responded on each succeeding play, taking a 58-57 lead at the 4:37 mark of the third quarter, its first lead since early in the first quarter. The third ended in a 68-68 tie after the T-Birds outscored the Dinos 27-20 in the third.
Fast forward to a minute remaining in the fourth, Wright and Tonner Jackson each had a pair of free throw attempts, three of which were made, but couldn’t prevent Ogungbemi-Jackson from getting the shot off with no time remaining.
When the dust settled, the Dinos shot 58.8% from the field (40-for-68), which was more efficient than the T-Birds shooting 35-for-69 (50.7%). The win helps Calgary maintain its first place position in the Pioneer Division, while UBC sits fifth.
Calgary and UBC will be back on the court tomorrow at 7 p.m. PST at War Memorial Gym, where the T-Birds look to split the weekend series.