A huge second-quarter run was the difference as the UBC Thunderbirds earned a 111-78 win over the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades on Friday evening at War Memorial Gym.
The visiting Cascades hung tough with the T-Birds in the early going, and were within 26-24 three minutes into the second quarter. But UBC stepped on the gas at that point, ending the quarter on a 28-5 run to take control of the game.
It was the Canada West regular-season opener for both teams, and they clash again on Saturday (7 p.m., War Memorial Gym, CanadaWest.tv).
Nine of the 12 players on the Cascades’ roster are in their first or second season of eligibility, and head coach Adam Friesen said that Friday’s game against the seasoned Thunderbirds was “exactly what we needed.”
“We’re a young group, and that’s a heck of a team over there, and they gave us an eye-opening lesson,” Friesen said.
“Overall it wasn’t great, but we fought back and we kept competing. I’m proud of that.”
The Thunderbirds raced out to a 13-2 lead, but the Cascades battled back to cut the deficit to 26-24 after Daniel Adediran scored five straight UFV points. UBC expanded the lead, though, by forcing six Cascade turnovers in the second quarter and pushing the ball in transition. Fifth-year guard Phil Jalalpoor led the charge, scoring 16 points in the frame including a trio of three-pointers.
UFV played the T-Birds close in the second half, but the deficit was too much to overcome.
Sophomore swingman Adediran had a promising performance for the Cascades, racking up 20 points in exceedingly efficient fashion: 6-of-9 from the field, 1-of-2 from beyond the arc, and 7-of-7 from the free throw line. He also notched a team-high seven rebounds in 26 minutes.
Riley Braich (13 points, 3-of-6 from three-point range) also scored in double figures for the Cascades, and Sukhman Sandhu posted four blocks off the bench.
Jalalpoor finished with 26 points for the T-Birds, and Taylor Browne counted four three-pointers among his 18 points. UBC shot 57.7 per cent from the field as a team.
BOUNCE PASSES: Six Cascades made their Canada West debuts on Friday: Vick Toor, Jordyn Sekhon, Sagar Dulay, Kenan Hadzovic, Joban Pandher and Mike VanderWerff . . . All but VanderWerff notched their first CW points.