The top-ranked UBC Thunderbirds men's basketball squad rebounded well from their Thursday loss to No. 7 SFU, finishing with a 77-68 victory in today's rematch against the Clan. The two teams were pretty close throughout, with SFU leading 35-30 at the half, but UBC turned it up a notch in the third quarter. They outscored SFU 25-15 in the frame and finished strong down the stretch.
UBC's shooting improved significantly after the half, boosting their field goal percentage from 42.3 per cent in the first half to 46.7 per cent after the break. They also got stingier on defence, and SFU's shots stopped falling; the Clan shot 40.6 per cent in the first half, but only hit 30.4 per cent of their field goals in the final quarters. Part of that came from the Thunderbirds' transition to a higher-tempo game; SFU didn't have anyone who could run with Josh Whyte, Blaine LaBranche and Nathan Yu. Whyte finished with 16 points, while LaBranche had 21 and Yu chipped in seven. The fast-paced offence seemed to knock SFU off guard and created lots of second chances for the Thunderbirds off rebounds; they picked up eight offensive rebounds to the Clan's five, and outrebounded SFU 41-34 over the course of the game.
SFU guard Chas Kok, who led the Clan with 18 points, said afterwards their failure to control the glass cost them the game.
"Defensively, we didn't really do what we wanted to," he said. "We gave up a lot of offensive rebounds, and that's what killed us."
Kok said the Clan weren't able to keep up with UBC late in the game.
"In the second half, we just played one speed," he said.
He said it was disappointing to lose their final CIS regular-season home game.
"I wanted to win that one for the seniors," he said.
Kok said the team still has plenty of work to do going into the playoffs despite impressive play this week.
"Defensively, we need to get better," he said. "Offensively, we need to get better. We just need to get better overall."
[Cross-posted to Sporting Madness]