NPH Top Performers
- David Wagner – 19 pts 7rbs 2blk 4stl
- Conor Morgan – 14 pts 4rbs 1blk
- Geoff Pippus – 13pts 2rbs 2stls
- Tommy Nixon – 12pts 6rbs 7asts 4stls
- Aaron Redpath-13 pts, 2rbs, 2ast (7 TO’s)
- Rohan Boney- 7 pts, 5rbs, 4ast, 4stl
VANCOUVER, B.C.–This season has been filled with questions for the UBC Thunderbirds. Who will contribute? How will the young core respond to pressure? On this night, the answer was present, against the McMaster Marauders of Hamilton, Ontario in the form of an 89-58 UBC blowout victory.
The Thunderbirds have witnessed success in the pre-season with different contributors stepping up on any given night. At times, it’s the veterans that will lead the way, while on other occasions, “role players” will step up.
“I love how unselfish our team mindset is. We are going at the mismatch, not forcing. Amazing what can happen when you don’t care who gets credit,” UBC lead guard, Doug Plumb tweeted last night following the win.
The Marauders entered War Memorial with a perfect 4-0 pre-season record, in large part due to their defensive intensity. Against UBC, MAC was once again with out star point guard Adam Presutti (sprained ankle).
The Maroon and White immediately brought the pressure and forced a turnover on freshman point guard Isaiah Solomon, who was a starter in this game.
“Isaiah is doing some really good things on the defensive end…good thing is we have enough veterans…Tommy (Nixon) handling the ball with Brylle (Kamen)” is what Coach Kevin Hanson had to say regarding his young back court.
Jordan Jensen-Whyte, fellow freshman point guard, played a little bit more relaxed under the pressure, but both have things to offer. Coach Hanson says that they will be “flip-flop” in minutes throughout the season and looking for them to grow.
Following a well-contested first half, UBC would put a choke-hold over the game.
The Thunderbirds exploited the Marauders lack of size in the paint, gaining a clear advantage on the boards. While the battle of the perimeter was near even with both teams causing turnovers and fast break opportunities, the battle inside was being carried by second year center David Wagner. Not known as a prolific scorer, Wagner finished with 19 points and seven rebounds, six of which were offensive rebounds.
In addition, Wagner had a slew of tips that kept plays alive for the scrappy Thunderbirds; Coach Hanson went on to say, “it was his best game as a Thunderbird.”
UBC pulled away in the second half finishing the game with a 41-point margin (89-58). The usual suspects contributed in many ways. Captains Brylle Kamen, Tommy Nixon, and Doug Plumb played their roles like Oscar nominees and this is come to be expected.
However, it was the emergence of second year Geoff Pippus and Conor Morgan who finished with 14 and 13 respectively. Both demonstrated mastery from beyond the arch as well as the undying drive to win, continuing to hit the deck even after this game was concluded on the score board.
Conor Morgan is a freshman that Hanson plans to build around as a part of the future of the Thunderbirds. On the other hand, Pippus is not as well known, however I personally have noticed, during warm-ups and practice, his explosive athleticism and a chip on his shoulder to prove himself.
Pippus did just that, playing within the flow of the game and hitting the shots he was expected to hit. This could be a big season for Pippus as Coach Hanson looks to have a full team effort most nights. A final contributor who put the proverbial nails in the coffin, was Michael Steele.
Steele is a walk on from Capilano college who is now, after the departure of forward Michael Lewandowski, looking at an opportunity to come in and play at the forward position. He came in with about six minutes to go and went on to shoot 3 of 3 from the field and 1 of 2 from the free throw line. He could be a solid contributor for the Thunderbirds as he won’t be high on the scouting report but effective through the course of a game.
All in all, the preseason has been vital to this growing Thunderbirds team. With one exhibition game left on their schedule, things seem to be coming into place. They look to finish strong and iron out the last few kinks against Lakehead University this coming Saturday and get the regular season started.
Doub Plumb vs Greg Carter will be a key matchup in the UBC/Lakehead game. Stay tuned!