Kamar Burke Late Game Heroics Help UBC Thunderbirds Defeat Alberta!
NPH TOP PERFORMERS
PHOTO COURTESY: UBC ATHLETICS
VANCOUVER, BC–An incredible last-second alley oop by Kamar Burke sent the game to overtime, and the fifth-year forward also helped control the extra frame with five points and three rebounds as his UBC Thunderbirds edged the Alberta Golden Bears 82-71 on Friday at War Memorial Gym.
After spending much of the night on the bench due to foul trouble and with just six points to his name, standout Alberta forward Jordan Baker made up for his early struggles with what was the biggest shot of the night at the time – a slashing layup through heavy traffic to put Alberta up 63-61 with just a few seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Doug Plumb responded for UBC with a hard drive to the basket of his own, earning a trip to the free throw line with 2.4 seconds left and a chance to tie, but after he missed the first, he intentionally missed the second to give his team a chance to rebound and tie, but didn’t hit the rim and it was Alberta’s ball inbounding at half court.
The T-Birds defended their men ferociously and 6-foot-9 Balraj Bains was up in Baker’s face as he attempted to inbound, forcing him to move his feet and pick up an illegal inbound call to turn the ball back over to UBC.
With just 2.4 seconds on the game clock, rookie shooting guard Malcolm Williams patiently used all five alotted seconds before throwing an inbound alley oop to Kamar Burke at the far side of the rim, who tipped it in to tie the game and send the crowd into an uproar.
Head coach Kevin Hanson was impressed with his team’s improvisation on the final play of the game.
“(The pass to Burke) was our third option, but they did a good job. Of course you want the ball going to certain guys in those situations, but Kamar made a great read and it was a good pass,” Hanson said.
“I learned from coach Enns when I played here that tricky players win games, not tricky plays, and I think we experienced that. It was a couple tricky players that won the game for us.”
Burke was still hot in overtime, grabbing five points and three rebounds to finish with 18 and 13 respectively, and icing the game with an emphatic rejection of a Todd Bergen Henengouwen shot late in the frame.
Redshirt freshman Geoff Pippus also put his stamp on the game in a big way with a pair of huge three-pointers off the bench late in the contest. His first came in the fourth quarter to cut a six-point Alberta lead in half, and then his overtime longball gave UBC its first lead of the extra frame.
“We’re really excited about him and I’m really excited to have him back in the rotation after a year and a half of being injured,” Hanson said, noting that Pippus was unsure of whether he would even return to basketball at one point during the long rehab process for a broken foot. “He’s still rehabbing and getting back into basketball, and we’ve told him to just spot up and shoot and don’t try to do too many things. If he can keep knocking down open shots it will do a lot for us.”
Nathan Yu led all players with 22 points and six assists for UBC. Daniel Ferguson led Alberta with 21 points and was a workhorse, playing all but one minute of the game including overtime.
The Bears drop to 6-3 on the year and will look to rebound against Victoria tommorrow night.
The T-Birds improve to 5-2 with the win and will prepare for another tough test from the Eastern Division tomorrow when the Saskatchewan Huskies come to War Memorial Gym for a 7 p.m. tipoff.