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PHOTO COURTESY: RICH LAM, UBC ATHLETICS
WINNIPEG, MB–A jump shot from rookie guard Malcolm Williams (1st, Pitt Meadows, BC) with 40 seconds to go in the fourth quarter gave the No. 3 UBC Thunderbirds men’s basketball team a 74-73 road win against the University of Winnipeg Wesmen on Saturday night.
“Winning on the road is always tough,” said UBC assistant coach Casey Archibald, who was filling in for an ailing Kevin Hanson.
“I’m really happy that we clawed out the two wins. It would have been easy to have a let down after our overtime win last night but our veteran guys really stepped up when we needed them.”
Those veterans included Doug Plumb (5th, Pitt Meadows, BC), who scored a game-high 26 points, including eight in the final quarter, and Kamar Burke (5th, Mississauga, ON), who grabbed 17 rebounds to go with nine points.
Nathan Yu (5th, Prince George, BC) also chipped in with 15 points for UBC.
For the Wesmen, it was Mark McNee who led with 21 points, while Andrew Cunningham flirts with a double-double, 17 points, eight assists.
A Plumb basket at 7:53 of the fourth quarter gave UBC a 60-53 lead but a 13-5 Winnipeg run gave the home team the advantage for the first time since early in the third.
The teams went back and forth down the stretch. A Williams jumper tied the game at 70 with 2:15 to go.
Wesmen player Travis Krahn replied with a three-point basket to give his team the lead again at 73-70.
A jumper from Balraj Bains (5th, Delta, BC) got UBC to within a point with 1:41 left.
Winnipeg then missed two shots, and then two free throws to give UBC the opportunity to win the game.
The two teams went into halftime tied at 34, after the T-Birds fought back from an eight-point first quarter deficit.
UBC shot 50.9 percent from the field against the Wesmen and committed just six turnovers, while holding Winnipeg to 38.6 percent shooting.
“Winning in close games is always a good learning experience, and it’s been great for our rookies to get minutes in games like these,” said Archibald. “Doug (Plumb) obviously scored the ball great tonight and did a great job getting to the rim. Before the game we said that we would need to get stops to win, and it came down to us getting one crucial stop to win. It’s a constant learning process and I think we’ve come a long way.”
UBC (10-2) has now won six consecutive games, including four in a row on the road. The Thunderbirds will return home for games next weekend against the UBC Okanagan Heat.
Tonight’s heartbreaking loss drops Winnipeg’s record to four wins and ten losses. The Wesmen host Regina next weekend.