In a high-scoring affair, the UBC Thunderbirds scored a 95-86 victory over the hometown Saint Mary’s Huskies in the consolation final of the U SPORTS Men’s Basketball Final 8 tournament.
“It is a tough, tough game to play, so I am proud with how the boys performed,” said UBC head coach Kevin Hanson after the game.
The Thunderbirds scored consecutive wins after dropping their quarterfinal match-up to the Dalhousie Tigers.
“We got more relaxed in each of the three games and that showed in our play,” he added.
Hanson credited the effort of his young players, including sophomores Grant Shephard and Mason Bourcier, with the growing program.
“You cannot put a price tag on gaining experience at this tournament,” said the head coach.
In a back-and-forth opening quarter, UBC took an early 8-2 edge, keyed by a Manroop Clair four-point play.
After an acrobatic drive and basket by Johneil Johnson, the Huskies led 25-24.
UBC led 30-29 after the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, on a drive and high bank shot from Jadon Cohee, the Thunderbirds were up 45-40.
Nikita Kasongo led the Huskies in the first half, with a blistering 19 points, but they trailed 51-46 heading to the locker room.
In the third quarter, Shepard scored seven early points, while Kemar Alleyne – in his final U SPORTS game – replied with five for the Huskies.
After Nico Brauner muscled up a lay-up, Saint Mary’s led 60-59.
UBC wrapped up the third quarter, on a 9-0 spurt, to take a 77-72 advantage heading to the fourth quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, after a three-pointer from Kordeiro James, the teams were deadlocked 79-79.
The Thunderbirds answered with five consecutive points, and eventually led 91-84, after a Cohee shot from downtown.
Late in the game, on a steal and dunk from Kasongo, the Huskies made it 93-86, but they could get no closer.
“It is definitely good to get this takeaway from the tournament,” Bourcier said of his team finishing on a winning note.
Shephard finished with team-high 23 points for UBC, while Bourcier – his team’s Player of the Game – added 21 points and eight rebounds.
Clair and Cohee added 18 points apiece.
For the Huskies, Kasongo – their Player of the game – meshed a game-high 29 points.
Johnson, off the bench, finished with 16 points and six rebounds, while Brauner added 10 points and five assists.
The Ryerson Rams and Dalhousie Tigers tipped off in the U SPORTS Men’s Basketball Final 8 bronze medal game Sunday, at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, while the top-ranked Carleton Ravens will face the defending national champion Calgary Dinos in the gold medal game at 5 p.m. ET/ 2 p.m. PT on Sportsnet 360, Sportsnet Now and TVA Sports
Players of the Game
- UBC: Mason Bourcier
- Saint Mary’s: Nikita Kasongo