Aneesa Heatherington/UBC Thunderbirds
VANCOUVER -- The UBC Thunderbirds flexed their potent offence and unyielding defence in a 127-62 blowout of the Brandon Bobcats Friday night at War Memorial Gym. UBC's 127 points is the most ever by the Thunderbirds in a regulation game.
With the nation's No. 2 ranking to their name, the 'Birds improved to 14-1 atop the Canada West, while Brandon fell to 7-10.
The T-Birds racked up an incredible 26 assists, shot 53.8 per cent from the field and 50 per cent from three-point land – earning 13 steals and an astonishing 68 points from the bench.
"Its exciting to see what the future holds with these guys," said UBC head coach Kevin Hanson. "I thought our bench guys were really hungry to come in and play. We didn't just rely on Conor – which was nice – we've been focusing all week on getting other guys involved."
Fourth-year forward Harpreet Randhawa notched a double-double, scoring a season-best 13 points (going 6-of-6 from the field) with 10 rebounds in a season-high 15 minutes. Randhawa was sidelined with a long-term injury, and was thrilled to return to action.
"It's been a long time coming. It's been two and a half years of rehabbing, just building and building. You hit a shot and you've got seven guys on the bench screaming – they're all up for you and it means the world."
"It's really special to get him those minutes…the guy recovered from two ACL injuries…it's been a tough grind for him. He's such a wonderful kid."
Jordan Jensen-Whyte lead with 23 points, while Patrick Simon added 17 points and seven boards; Isaiah Familia scored 14 points with six rebounds, and Taylor Browne put up 13 points and five boards.
The Bobcats struggled to find their offence all game, with a lone bright spot being the inspired play of starting forward Earl Thompson Jr. who hit for 14 points in 18 minutes of work.
Brandon actually started the game strong with Thompson Jr. and guard Pookie Saunders pacing the Bobcats to a 9-4 lead. But after Jensen-Whyte tied it up at 9-9 on a hard take to the rim, and Simon cashed one of his two threes to extend the lead, the 'Birds never looked back. Jensen-Whyte exploded for 12 points in the first quarter as UBC took a commanding 32-19 advantage into the second frame.
UBC's bench made their presence felt, with Randhawa checking into the game and potting a quick two points after taking his check into the spin cycle. Familia beat the buzzer to close out the half and make it 63-34 UBC.
Conor Morgan splashed a triple to start the third quarter as the offensive onslaught continued. With a 97-54 lead after 30 minutes, Familia put the Thunderbirds into triple digits up 101-56 in the fourth and the T-Bird depth closed out the record-breaking victory.
The 'Birds and Bobcats will renew acquaintances on Saturday evening, with tipoff slated for 7 p.m. (PST) at War Memorial Gym.
IMAGE CREDIT: Wilson Wong/UBC Thunderbirds