Vancouver, BC – The UBC Thunderbirds men’s basketball team heads east this weekend for a two-game tilt against the University of Regina Cougars. Fresh off its toughest test of 2015 against Calgary, the Thunderbirds look to muster up another winning streak after having an eight-game tear snapped last weekend.
The Thunderbirds currently sit in fifth in the Canada West with a 10-6 record, just two wins off a trio of teams tied for first, while Regina (7-9) is eighth in the Canada West Pioneer Division, one spot out of the playoff picture. By the second week of January, the Cougars were in the midst of a five-game winning streak but have since dropped four straight including losses to Saskatchewan and Alberta.
This weekend’s matchup features two of the conferences top three leading scorers in UBC’s Tommy Nixon (No. 1), and Regina’s Jonathan Tull (No. 3). Nixon leads the Canada West with 21.8 points per game and has three 30+ scoring games in his last eight contests.
The UBC standout is making a serious case for the conference’s most valuable player as his point-per-game total ranks him fifth in Canada, in addition to his third ranked three-point shooting percentage (52.6%). Further, his 45-point performance (Jan. 23) is the highest single game total of any player in the nation this season, and Nixon is just one of three players (Faulkner, Queens & Morrow, Western) to have eclipsed the 40-point plateau.
Meanwhile, Tull has eclipsed double digits in every game this season, entering the weekend with a season-high 29-point performance on his ledger. Will Tallman is appropriately the team leader in rebounds, on average grabbing 6.3 boards per game, and also leads the team in minutes played.
The Thunderbirds managed a split with the Calgary Dinos last weekend after both games came down to the wire and were decided in the final seconds. Prior to their loss last Friday, the T-Birds were on an eight-game winning streak and finished the month of January with a 7-1 record.
Despite being Canada West division rivals, Regina and UBC have seen little of each other the past half-decade, tipping off just six times since the 2009-2010 season. UBC holds the head-to-head advantage during that span going 5-1 but suffered that lone loss during their one-game season series last year.
Regina will be looking to rebound from a weekend sweep at the hands of the Alberta Golden Bears, losing by margins of 74-63, and 71-64, in a pair of low scoring ball games. If UBC manages a weekend sweep of their own, they’ll have a playoff spot locked up as just four games, this weekend included, remain on the regular season schedule.
Look for UBC’s Jordan Jensen-Whyte, the second leading assist man in the Canada West (5.2 assists per game), and Conor Morgan, the second leading scorer on UBC (12.9 points per game) to be factors this weekend as well.
Friday and Saturday’s games start at 6 p.m. PST at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport in Regina where UBC will be in search for its first win in Regina since February 5, 2011.