MBB: T-Birds clamp down on Timberwolves, earn split with UNBC in Vancouver
The UBC Thunderbirds looked to put forth a better defensive effort one night after allowing 100 points, holding the UNBC Timberwolves to 33.3% shooting and beating the TWolves 93-67 on Sunday, November 13, 2022, in Vancouver, BC.
In the first quarter, both offenses took time to get going, as the Timberwolves and Thunderbirds created good looks but were unable to convert on much of anything. Todd Jordan’s UNBC team continued to get the T-Birds out of their rhythm, keeping a dangerous roster at bay for much of the frame. UBC reserves Esaie Maurancy and Tobi Akinkunmi made an impact when he was subbed into the game, scoring nine quick points to give the home team a 19-11 lead at the end of the frame.
In the second quarter, back-to-back triples by Chris Ross and Micah Jessie cut it to a four-point game, as the Timberwolves refused to fall too far behind the highly-regarded Thunderbirds on their home court. A Triston Matthews got the Birds a bit of breathing room, but Fareed Shittu did what he does better than anyone in the conference, blocking a T-Bird at the rim at one end and hammering a baseline dunk at the other. However, James Woods made a long three-pointer and a tough floater for UBC, who found themselves up 45-31 at the half.
Shittu was UNBC best player through 20 minutes with 10 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks, while Jessie chipped in with nine points. Woods found his stroke with 16 points to pace the T-Birds, while big man Brian Wallack had 11 points.
After a sloppy start to the second half, both teams found their footing as Woods made a triple for UBC, answered by a three from Chris Ross for UNBC. The Timberwolves cut the lead to ten points, but Kevin Hanson’s team was able to continue to create offensive looks, as Wallack scored 13 points in the quarter. With ten minutes to play, the T-Birds held a commanding 68-52 lead.
In the fourth quarter, the Thunderbirds’ defense continued to look stout, as they did enough to hold off the UNBC attack from mounting a substantial comeback. Sukhman Sandhu, James Woods, and Akinkunmi made threes on consecutive possessions, putting the game out of reach for the feisty visitors.
UNBC first-years Evgeny Baukin and Justin Sunga were strong in a reserve role, gaining valuable experience when pressed into action due to Timberwolves veterans Chris Ross and Spencer Ledoux fouling out of the game. Eventually, the buzzer would sound with the T-Birds earning a 93-67 victory.
Micah Jessie led the Timberwolves with 13 points, while Shittu had 12 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks. Chris Ross and Justin Sunga each had nine points.
For UBC, Wallack was the story, with 26 points on 9-for-12 shooting, while James Woods had 24 points. Akinkunmi added 13 13 point and five rebounds off the bench.
With the loss, UNBC now sits at 2-2, heading into next weekend’s series at UFV against the Cacades. The Thunderbirds improve to 1-1 on the season.