MBB: T-Birds use balanced attack to handle the Heat

MBB: T-Birds use balanced attack to handle the Heat

Stu Walters / UBC Thunderbirds

VANCOUVER - The UBC Thunderbirds used a stout defence along with a balanced attack with six players scoring in double digits en route to a comfortable 100-29 victory over the UBCO Heat to open the 2019 portion of their Canada West schedule at War Memorial Gym Friday night.

The No. 4 T-Birds extended their winning streak to 10 games and were led by second-year forward Grant Shephard's game high 19 points that included three impressive slam dunks. Jadon Cohee and Grant Audu each scored 15 points while Manroop Clair added 14 points. Mason Bourcier chipped in with 12 points and a game high six assists and Patrick Simon rounded out the double-digit contributions with 11 points and a game high 9 rebounds.

The Heat were led by Philip Okanlawon and Triston Matthews who each scored a team high 10 points while Aldrich Berrios added six points.

"It's a real interesting game to say the least," said UBC head coach Kevin Hanson. "Overall I'm happy with our intensity and defensively we did some good things. I had a chance to play a lot of different guys and we've been working on some tactical things that saw us share the ball well with multiple players in double digits which was nice to see."

The T-Birds jumped out to an early 7-4 lead before the Heat responded by scoring the following seven points and a 11-7 advantage largely thanks to Okanlawon hitting consecutive jump shots including one from three-point range. Shephard would then bring the home crowd to life with an emphatic dunk but UBCO would counter again with Okanlawon stroking his second three-pointer of the quarter as part of his quarter high eight points to give the visitors a 14-9 lead. A pair of veteran T-Birds would step up by hitting back to back three-pointers of their own courtesy of Clair and Cohee and an eventual 19-17 lead after the first frame.

The 'Birds really took flight in the second quarter executing in all facets to outscore the Heat 31-0, it was a combination of good defence while the Heat also struggled shooting the ball missing all 19 of their field goal attempts. In contrast the T-Birds were fairly efficient in going 13 of 25 from the field and shooting 52 percent, Grant Audu led the way for UBC with nine points while Cohee and Bourcier chipped in with six and five points respectively. Shephard sparked the crowd yet again with his second thunderous dunk of the contest en route to a comfortable 50-17 halftime advantage.

The third quarter featured the T-Birds shooting a sizzling 67 percent from the field, thanks to the hosts making good on 14 of 21 attempts in outscoring the Heat 32-10. Shephard led the way with eight points, highlighted by converting on an impressive alley-oop dunk off a Cohee feed while Simon added seven points for UBC. Berrios had a quarter high six points for the visitors who trailed 82-27 after three periods.

In the final frame UBC put up 18 points to reach the century mark while the Heat countered with two. T-Birds first year forward Jonah Morrison led the way with six points as the hosts cruised to a convincing 100-29 victory.

With the win, the T-Birds improve to 10-1 on the season while the Heat see their record drop to 5-8. The teams meet again Saturday night at War Memorial Gym with a 7:00 p.m. tipoff.

PHOTO: Rich Lam / UBC Thunderbirds