Stu Walters / UBC
VANCOUVER - Third-year guard Taylor Browne had the hot hand from long range and stepped up for 16 points in helping the UBC Thunderbirds (13-4) to a convincing 93-66 win over the MacEwan Griffins (4-12) completing the weekend sweep.
Browne finished the night hitting six of his 10 field goal attempts which included draining four of his eight three point looks in his 24 minutes of action. The arts student out of Surrey, BC said he was in a groove early after making good on his first two shots including one from beyond the arc and leading the T-Birds with six first quarter points.
"Oh yeah the first shot I had was pure swish and I felt like let's go so after that I just kept shooting and it felt good. I feel like I should be doing that, it's about time so I'm glad that I'm peeking at the right time."
Browne added that he was pleased with the teams overall outing that included some determined defence. The Thunderbirds forced 24 Griffins turnovers that led to 29 points.
"Usually we struggle on the Saturday night but I feel like we came together today, we matured as a group and played well. All the guys did their job and I feel we capitalized on their turnovers and made them feel uncomfortable."
The Griffins got out to a good start a night after falling 96-72 in the opener of back to back games. MacEwan responding by trailing just 23-22 after the opening quarter on the strength of Lincoln Anderson scoring six of his team high 14 points on the evening. Meanwhile for UBC, following Browne's five point first quarter was fifth-year forward Luka Zaharijevic making his presence felt down low for a second straight night adding four points and four of his game high 11 rebounds.
Fifth-year forward Conor Morgan set the overall pace for the 'Birds with a game high 19 points while adding five rebounds. Fifth-year guard Phil Jalalpoor and first-year forward Grant Shephard recorded 13 points each while chipping in with eight and six rebounds respectively.
Thunderbirds head coach Kevin Hanson appreciated the overall contributions from his squad which improved to 10-0 on home court this season.
"I thought a couple guys came in off the bench and gave us a defensive spark and once we were able to get into the transition game and get some easy buckets the momentum just started to carry and guys relaxed a little bit and had some more fun." Hanson continued. "We needed it, I thought the Griffins played well, I thought they shot the ball extremely well in the first and second half and made us earn it and so it made us better."
Hansen also had praise for his sharpshooting guard Taylor Browne.
"We gave him the start in the second half, we've been off to a couple of slow starts in our last few games and he extends the defence they were packing it in a little bit and making problems for our post guys but once he came in there and made shots it opened it up in the middle for us. We're happy for Taylor, he got some good minutes and made good use of those minutes tonight."
Griffins point guard Adonis Monfort-Palomino had a standout night with 13 points, seven assists and four rebounds. MacEwan meets the Alberta Golden Bears for a home and home series next week beginning on home court Thursday January 25th, followed by visiting the Bears on Saturday January 27th. The Thunderbirds hit the road next weekend for back to back games against UBC Okanagan.
PHOTO: Bob Frid / UBC Thunderbirds