By Ali Baggott, Vikes Communications
The UBC Thunderbirds men’s basketball team had five players score in double-digits as they cruised past the Victoria Vikes 89-63 in the basketball opener for Legends Cup on Thursday night in Victoria. The win lifts the No. 6 nationally-ranked Thunderbirds to 2-1 in the Canada West, while the Vikes fall to 1-2.
The Thunderbirds were led in scoring by fourth-year guard Manroop Clair who came off the bench to provide 25 points and seven rebounds. Six-foot-ten forward and second year Grant Shephard added 17 points, while Mason Bourcier had 13 and Jadon Cohee had 10. Lone fifth year Patrick Simon had the only double-double for the visitors finishing with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
The home side was forced to test their depth with the absence former Canada West Rookie of the Year and point guard Scott Kellum, as well as fifth-year forward and six-foot-eight Hayden Lejeune. Fifth-year guard Mason Loewen had the team’s only double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Jason Scully and Jordan Charles each chipped in with 10 points.
“You can’t talk about who is not there because that’s how the game is played,” said Vikes head coach Craig Beaucamp. “Obviously we had a couple of guys out but I still thought we could have been successful tonight. We made too many mistakes against a good team and it was runs of mistakes. We would battle and get ourselves back and then we would give away too many easy points in succession.”
The opening half saw the Thunderbirds pace the Vikes from the start, out-scoring the home side 21-16 and 21-12 in the first and second quarters. UBC forward Simon led the floor in rebounds, with nine, as the visitors out-rebounded the Vikes 28-23. Both Clair and Cohee finished with 10 first-half points, while the bench put up 12 points as the T-Birds led 42-28 at the break.
First-half scoring for the Vikes came from Loewen, who finished with eight, while Scully added six as the Vikes were held to 29 per cent in their shooting percentage.
In the third quarter Taylor Montgomery-Stinson calmly put up his first three of the night to leave the home side trailing the Thunderbirds 51-37. UBC’s Cohee continued to keep the T-Birds well ahead as he drained two free throws on the next play. Montgomery-Stinson hit another three mid-way through the third to cut UBC’s lead to 13 as the Vikes trailed 55-42. The outside shooting continued as quality ball movement allowed time for Loewen to drop a trey and get the Vikes catch up within 10, down 55-45. UBC’s Grant Audu dropped a baseline three after seeing the Vikes go on a short 8-0 run as UBC pushed their lead back up to 65-47 by the end of the third quarter.
The Thunderbirds continued to dominate down the stretch as Manroop got the scoring off with a three and continued with back-to-back jump shots to push the visitors up 73-49. A Scully deuce and Loewen three helped the Vikes chip away yet again but Manroop added another five points in quick succession. The Thunderbirds out-scored the Vikes 24-16 in the final frame to seal their second win of the season by a final score of 89-63.
“Anything can happen with these back-to-back games so we need to take the day off tomorrow to reflect on the things we did well and the things we need to improve on,” added Hanson. “The Vikes are going to be a motivated group when we get back on the court Saturday in Vancouver.”
The Vikes will now prepare to travel to Vancouver to play in War Memorial Gym on Nov. 3 in the second leg of the Legends Cup rivalry series. The Vikes and T-Birds will tip off at 7:00 p.m. with the game being webcast live on pay-per-view at canadawest.tv.
UBC: 21-21-23-24 : 89
VIC: 16-12-19-16 : 63