Vancouver, B.C. – With the regular season around the corner and basketball on the cusp of being in full bloom around the world, the University of British Columbia hosted their second exhibition game in War Memorial Gym in preparations for the upcoming season. Previously, they had suffered a nail biting loss to Eastern Washington University, but coming so close to a division one team showed promise for the young T-birds. However the team that had fought so valiantly four weeks ago seemed to be missing.
“We did an awful job of offensive rebounding…at halftime they had thirteen offensive boards and we had 17 turnovers” remarked Coach Hanson of the UBC Thunderbirds. And it was an early Onslaught on the glass with the Bishop University Gaiters capitalizing on their plethora of second chance opportunities giving them a nine point advantage over the home team.
But as soon as the second quarter began, Doug Plumb showed a reckless attack at the rim, as the newly named captain looked to lead by example.
“He gets out he’s such an explosive athlete he’s tough to guard in the full court” Coach Hanson explained about his team chosen captain. Plumb played a quieter role in terms of stats against Eastern Washington, but his ability to score was in high definition in this game as he fed inside passes to teammates for easy scores, finishing with 21 points and vocally leading his team from behind to eventually capture the 87-75 victory.
Plumb was not alone in the comeback. For most of the night the T-bird’s offense was very scrappy, relying on turnovers and to create fast breaks but committing them as well. A familiar name on the stat sheet came off the bench prepared to make it rain, so to speak.
O’Brian Wallace, a bonafide scorer from Brandon University, made shots that UBC desperately needed if they had any chance of winning this basketball game. “It’s almost like the tougher the shot he takes the higher percentage of it going in…you’re saying no no no, yes! On a lot of his shots” his coach had to say about his barrage of threes; which included a triplet of huge shots in the third quarter, one to tie the score, one to take the lead, and a pull up three just for good measure, in the face of his defender no less.
Wallace continued to make shots in the fourth to help the Thunderbirds close out this aggressive Gaiters team, finishing with 22 points.
The key signs for the future of this team are that their defense is very capable of shutting down anyone. Early in the game the Gaiters seemed to be hitting everything but as it progressed the Thunderbirds asserted the defensive dominance and this allowed them to grab control over this contest.
The second important sign was the development of their freshmen. Jordan Jensen Whyte started at the point guard position, and although he had a rough night finishing at the rim he certainly had no problem getting there, definitely displayed promise in his performance on this evening.
Isaiah Solomon also showed a great improvement from last month’s exhibition game. Last month Eastern Washington exploited his inexperience and suspect handles, but tonight he improved by a substantial margin, handling the full court pressure with ease and electrifying the crowd with a late spin into the lane to a soft floater that splashed through the net.
The Thunderbirds took a scare early, but found their winning form in the end. This is what the preseason is about, for teams to learn about each other and themselves, coach Hanson is depending on his three captains this year, Tommy Nixon, Brylle Kamen, and Doug Plumb to help facilitate a quick learning curve for the raw freshman talent.