Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics
VANCOUVER – A huge second-quarter run was the difference as the UBC Thunderbirds earned a 111-78 win over the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades on Friday evening at War Memorial Gym.
The visiting Cascades hung tough with the T-Birds in the early going, and were within 26-24 three minutes into the second quarter. But UBC stepped on the gas at that point, ending the quarter on a 28-5 run to take control of the game.
It was the Canada West regular-season opener for both teams, and they clash again on Saturday (7 p.m., War Memorial Gym, CanadaWest.tv).
Five UBC players reached double digits in scoring, led by senior guard Phil Jalalpoor, who hit five triples en route to a 26-point night. Guard Taylor Browne was also efficient from long range, making four of his five shots from beyond the arc. He contributed 18 points off the bench.
Guard Daniel Adediran paced the Cascades in both scoring (20 points) and rebounding (seven boards). Guard Riley Braich chipped in with 13 points.
The Thunderbirds' ability to generate steals (11) and push the ball the other way in transition ignited their second-quarter surge, and fifth-year UBC forward Luka Zaharijevic said his whole team has bought into their defensive system.
"Our focus right now in the beginning of the season is defence," said Zaharijevic, who had 11 points and a game-high nine rebounds. "We want to be the best defensive team, not only in our conference but also in the country.
"Our defence leads to our offence, and I'm pretty sure half our points were off turnovers," he added. "And offensively, we're executing. We're still working out options and reads, but it's coming along. We're gelling, and it's looking positive for the future."
Rookie UBC forward Grant Shephard had 11 points and eight rebounds.
Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said Friday's game was "exactly what we needed."
"We're a young group, and that's a heck of a team over there, and they gave us an eye-opening lesson," said Friesen, whose squad features nine players in their first or second season of eligibility.
"Overall it wasn't great, but we fought back and we kept competing. I'm proud of that."
PHOTO: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds