MBB: T-Birds get past Heat for 10th straight win

MBB: T-Birds get past Heat for 10th straight win

Stu Walters / UBC Thunderbirds

VANCOUVER - The UBC Thunderbirds shared the ball well for a second consecutive night with five players reaching double digit scoring to get past the UBC Okanagan Heat 103-69 Saturday night at War Memorial Gym.

It was the 10th straight win for the No. 4 T-Birds who were led by fourth-year guard Jadon Cohee's game high 22 points. Grant Shephard and Mason Bourcier each registered double doubles with Shephard pouring in 17 points and adding 10 rebounds while Bourcier scored 16 points and dished out a game high 10 assists. Manroop Clair chipped in with 17 points and Isaiah Familia was very efficient off the bench in the second half recording 14 points and eight rebounds.

The Heat were led by third-year guard Triston Matthews 15 points and 10 rebounds while Philip Okanlawon, Aldrich Berrios and Jarrett Larsen each tallied 14 points on the night.

"I thought we started the game fairly well, we did miss a bunch of easy ones in the first quarter there but defensively we did some pretty good things," said UBC head coach Kevin Hanson. "Sometimes it's tough if you get a big spread early in the game to maintain it or build on it but overall I'm pleased with the weekend."

Much like the previous night Shephard made his presence felt early going sky high to block Triston Mathews' drive to the hoop at one end before springing Clair on a fast break the other way resulting in the hoop and the harm, Clair converted on his free throw attempt to complete the three-point play and an early T-Birds 5-4 lead. Shephard finished with a quarter-high seven points after hitting three of his four field goal attempts which included an athletic reverse dunk. Clair and Cohee each chipped in with five points which included a three-pointer from Cohee while Okanlawon was perfect on his two attempts from three-point land and a team leading six points for UBCO who in trailed 19-10 after the first quarter.

The T-Birds would pull away in the second quarter outscoring the Heat 41-17 thanks to some sharpshooting of 73 percent from the field making good on 16 of 22 attempts, this included hitting seven of their 10 three-point attempts and a sizzling 70 percent from distance. Bourcier led the way breaking out for his first 14 points of the contest thanks to 6-8 shooting while hitting two of his three-point attempts. Clair and Cohee also each hit on two of their three shots from beyond the arc in adding 10 and eight points respectively while Cam Morris completed the assault from distance, also registering a three-pointer. UBCO would hit three rainmakers as well courtesy of Okanlawon, Jacob Stokker and Jarrett Larsen as the visitors stared down a 60-27 deficit heading into halftime.

The Heat were down but not out and put forth a spirited third quarter that saw them outscore the T-Birds 28-24 thanks to shooting a superb 75 percent from three-point land in hitting six of their eight attempts. Berrios led the way for the Heat with 12 points, six of which were from beyond the arc as he was perfect on his two attempts. For UBC, it was Cohee setting the pace with nine points and Isaiah Familia's perfect four for four shooting adding eight points for the hosts who led 84-55 after three quarters.

UBC would regain the edge in the final frame outscoring UBCO 19-14 en route to hitting the century mark for a second straight night and securing the 103-69 win.

"We're showing signs of good overall team basketball," added Hanson. "I thought Mason Bourcier and Isaiah Familia set the tone defensively and brought good energy, they competed hard and hopefully that's contagious going forward."

With the victory, the T-Birds improve to 11-1 on the season while the Heat fall to 5-9. Next weekend UBCO are on the road again for back to back games at the University of Regina while the T-Birds will hit the highway to meet cross town rival Trinity Western for games on January 11 and 12.

PHOTO: Austin Kretzschmar / UBC Thunderbirds