MBB: T-Birds defeat Lancers to close out UBC Invitational

MBB: T-Birds defeat Lancers to close out UBC Invitational

Stu Walters/UBC Thunderbirds


VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds relied upon some spread out veteran scoring en route to a convincing 91-78 victory over the University of Windsor Lancers to close out the UBC Invitational Saturday night at War Memorial Gym.

Fourth-year guard Jadon Cohee led the way with a game high 22 points, while second-year forward Grant Shephard added 17 points, Grant Audu chipped in with 16 points and Patrick Simon's 14 points rounded out the double-digit contributors for the hosts. For the visitors, it was forward Thomas Kennedy leading the way with 21 points while guard's Chris Poloniato and Kanayo Nnadi served up 13 and 12 points respectively.

The contest started with the 6 foot 9 Kennedy scoring the first two buckets thanks to some effective moves in the paint. UBC would respond with some strong moves of their own down the lane resulting in Shephard hitting two free throws followed by Patrick Simon driving to the glass to even things at 4-4. Shortly thereafter the 'Birds would find themselves down 10-6 and that's when Audu would make his presence felt with some monster work underneath the Windsor basket. After being denied on two attempts in the mix Audu was rewarded with the hoop and harm but missed the free throw and then followed that up with a steal on the next possession leading to an uncontested dunk to once again even things at 10-10. UBC was starting to find it's groove and the end of the first quarter would be highlighted by first year guard Cameron Morris heating up to hit three straight three-pointers, his instant nine-point contribution was the T-Bird team high as the hosts enjoyed a 21-17 lead after the first frame.

The Second quarter would see the aforementioned spread out scoring distribution from the 'Birds as Shephard, Audu, Cohee and Mason Bourcier all chipped in with four points each while Kennedy continued to set the pace for the Lancers with six more of his team high on the night.

UBC's 20-point quarter would give them a 41-35 halftime lead.

The T-Birds would lean on impressive shooting proficiency in the third quarter en route to outscoring Windsor 33-14. The 'Birds would do much of their damage from beyond the arc in shooting a sizzling 78 percent from distance and 65 percent overall from the field. Cohee made four of his five three-point attempts as part of a 16-point quarter while Simon was good on two of his three attempts for his 10 points in the frame and Shephard converted on his one shot from long range. Conversely, Windsor struggled mightily from the field in shooting a dismal 22 percent while watching UBC extend their lead to 74-49 at the end of three quarters.

With a healthy 25-point lead heading into the fourth quarter UBC head coach Kevin Hanson took the opportunity to rotate his line up and give some playing time to some of the newcomers to the T-Birds squad. While the minutes in the pre-season tune up were valuable some of the inexperience showed as the hosts were outscored 29-17 in the final frame but secured the 91-78 victory.

"Giving up 29 points in the fourth quarter is obviously a concern for us," said Hanson, who wasn't thrilled with the execution to close out the contest. "We were emphasizing playing for 40 minutes and there were some positives of getting that many guys into the game, we're sharing the scoring we certainly show some good spurts but then we forget our responsibilities a bit at the end. We'll keep refining but it's a very good start to the year at home against two very good teams. I like seeing the different styles of play from the different conferences in a Quebec and Ontario school who play a different style, a lot more physical than we often see out here so it was two really good games to play for us and I'm happy with the outcome."

After wins over Laval and Windsor on back to back nights the T-Birds will continue their pre-season tune up, heading out east next week for three games at the Waterloo Naismith Tournament in Ontario. The 'Birds begin with a meeting against the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks Thursday, October 11 with a 1:00 p.m. tip off.

PHOTO: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds