Defence once again proved to be a key to success for the UBC men’s basketball team, as a hard fought effort this past weekend led to two important road wins against the Thompson Rivers University Wolf Pack.
On Friday night the T-Birds used a strong second half to pull away and defeat TRU 83-66, giving UBC (8-2) its first road win of the regular season. The ‘Birds took control from the start on Saturday, holding the Wolf Pack (5-7) to only 54 points as they convincingly won 78-54.
“We were thrilled to take two on the road,” said head coach Kevin Hanson. “We addressed to play more effective on the road. I thought we did some great things.”
By playing more sound defence over the past couple games, UBC now leads the Canada West in scoring defence and field goal percent defence. They are holding their opponents to only 70.4 points per game and .375 shooting. The impressive stats has led the team to four straight victories, putting them in second place in the Pacific division behind the University of Victoria.
The play on defence has also impressed head coach Kevin Hanson.
“We are starting to play good team defence. We’ve adjusted our over-aggressive defence to play more team-oriented and containing style.”
Meanwhile, their offence has still been producing on a high level. They currently have a plus 17.1 average margin of victory, well above any other team in the conference.
The weekend was highlighted by a strong showing from second-year forward Tommy Nixon. On Saturday he scored a career-high 22 points and had 13 rebounds to secure the double-double.
“Tommy played great and gave us something when we needed it,” said Hanson after Saturday’s game. “He did a great job in a number of different areas.”
Eleven players chipped in points in Saturday’s contest with six scoring in double figures. This secondary scoring could prove to be a huge advantage for the team down the stretch. Opponents cannot focus on one player when the T-Birds have the ball, providing one-on-one match ups that the UBC players can easily win.
Nixon, Nathan Yu, Doug Plumb, Kamar Burke and Malcolm Williams are all averaging over ten points per game this season, and at any point all five of them could be on the floor at the same time. This balanced production could prove to be yet another key to success for the Thunderbirds.
UBC continues its regular season next weekend in Manitoba against the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba.