Alyssa Etsell, Bison Sports
WINNIPEG – A valiant effort in overtime landed the no. 6 ranked UBC Thunderbirds a 94-89 triumph over the Manitoba Bisons on Saturday night at Investors Group Athletic Centre.
UBC head coach Kevin Hanson thinks it was the effort in overtime that made the difference for his team.
"It was an intense battle tonight and we were fortunate to get it into overtime and hit a couple of tough shots," said Hanson.
"Either team could have won and we just made a couple key plays at the right time."
With the win, and weekend sweep, UBC improves their record to 5-1 and bumps their winning streak to four games. Manitoba falls to a record of 2-4.
Back-to-back three-pointers drove up the overtime score for UBC early on, 86-81. With 8.9 seconds left on the clock, DJ Jordan Jr. sent a dagger flying through the air to put the Herd back within three points (92-89). Despite the effort from the home team, the Thunderbirds ran out the clock and a Bisons foul at 4.5 seconds gave UBC the game.
In the fourth, UBC's Manroop Clair netted seven three-pointers, effectively erasing any lead the home team gained. With under two minutes left, a three-point field goal from the Bisons leveled the playing field and was swiftly followed by Jordan dunking his way to a 78-79 Manitoba lead. A free throw tied the game and despite many attempts, the 79-79 tie remained when the buzzer sounded.
Clair led points for the Thunderbirds, racking up 33 on the scoreboard.
In the third, Manitoba coach Kirby Schepp credited UBC's massive 14-point streak as being the difference maker this game.
"We did a good job staying composed and playing as a team. In the third quarter, they really rebounded us hard," he said. "That was the only quarter we lost except for overtime."
The 14-point surge from the Thunderbirds drove up the score in the third, with major contributions from a Grant Shepard sailing three-pointer, a Mason Bourcier dunk and a Patrick Simon three-point arc. The Herd's Jordan finally broke the streak with a three-point field goal. Going into the last quarter, the score sat at 61-60.
In the second quarter, the matchup was emblazoned with signs the remainder of the game would be a fight. For the Bisons, the back and forth was kept up by Jordan and the visitors knew the key to success was shutting him down. He netted 20 points by the start of the second half. A dagger of a layup from Jordan sent the home team into the third quarter with a shallow two-point lead (40-38).
Jordan led in points for Manitoba, netting a total of 31.
In the first quarter, neither Manitoba nor UBC could claim a solid lead and they headed into the second 18-17 for the home team.
UBC plays Thompson Rivers at home next weekend. Tip-off is at 8 p.m. PST on Nov. 16. Manitoba will go to Regina next weekend (Nov. 16 and 17) to play the Regina Cougars. That game starts at 2 p.m. CST. Stream both matchups live online at CanadaWest.TV.