Aneesa Heatherington, UBC Thunderbirds
VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds (7-1) hit a season-high 14 threes to extend their winning streak to six games in a 98-78 win over the TRU WolfPack (2-4) Saturday night at War Memorial Gym.
Jadon Cohee scored 20 points and went 3-for-5 from beyond the arc with seven assists in the T-Birds' highest offensive output of the season. Grant Shephard went to work in the paint with 16 points on 5-for-6 from the floor and 6-for-7 from the free throw line. The 6-foot-10 forward added seven rebounds and five assists. Mason Bourcier shot 50% from the field and totalled 18 points with 10 assists and a steal.
"I'm happy, I think we got off to a good start, we exploded offensively," said UBC head coach Kevin Hanson. "We gave the starters a little more court time together to try and build the lead, and we're seeing growth in the team. I thought the guys did a really good job. Mason Bourcier in particular was able to penetrate the zone and get some dishes. I think it really set the tone and created some open looks."
A Bourcier and one widened the early T-Bird lead to 10-4 in the first and TRU's Derek Rhodes maintained the six-point deficit with a jumper at 18-12. Shephard showed off his strength on a hard take to the hoop to put the 'Birds up 30-18, and they closed out the quarter with a 34-20 lead. Manroop Clair knocked down back-to-back triples for a 40-25 edge in the second and the home squad rained down ten threes en route to a 59-36 advantage at the half. Michael Rouault led the WolfPack with 16 first-half points, and TRU went 0-4 from beyond the arc, but scored 18 points in the paint through 20 minutes of play.
Anton Bilous drained the first three for the WolfPack early in the third and Tyus De Vries completed a four-point play, but Rouault picked up his fourth foul and was forced to take a seat on the bench. With an 85-61 lead heading into the fourth, the Thunderbirds locked down to close out the weekend sweep.
"Their guards' ability to dribble-penetrate into the lane, that's what everyone feeds off of and we didn't do a good job of keeping the ball out of the paint," said TRU head coach Scott Clark. "They have some skilled kids who are good athletes, and they're a good basketball team."
Rouault finished with a team-high 19 points with five rebounds and four steals for the WolfPack, Joe Davis was one rebound shy of a double-double with 14 points and nine boards, and Rhodes added 14 points and five rebounds in the loss.
The 'Birds will now enjoy a bye week away from Canada West competition before hosting Mt. Royal on November 30th for their final series prior to the holiday break. Coach Hanson expects his team to use the week wisely.
"We're going to train exactly the same, keep the routine the same, they'll have two days off on Friday and Saturday though, but it's an opportunity. You don't want them to slide, you don't want them to think about the break, it's one more series to go. It'll be an intense week of practice and we're going to use it to improve."
PHOTO: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds