Friday, 1 February 2008

Steele leads Bears to come back win at UBC

Alberta (18-7, 13-6) 75, #7 UBC (17-5, 15-5) 70 6'2" Alex Steele led a fourth-quarter comeback, scoring 10 of his game-high 29 points down the stretch, as the Bears won an important road game in Vancouver against Pacific Division 1st place T-Birds. The game was very physical throughout, especially inside where the referees let both teams bang away without many whistles. UBC's star 6'3" wing Chris Dyck put on a great offensive display, especially in the first half when he personally led a second-quarter ending run to give the T-Birds a four-point lead after the Bears led much of the way in the first 20 minutes. Dyck came off screens and flashed his excellent mid-range game, forcing Alberta coach Don Horwood to drop into a zone, which paid dividends in the second half. While Dyck (22 points) and 6'6" Brent Malish (18 points, 10 rebounds) kept UBC in the game, the T-Birds array of post men were more than held in check as 6'7" Matt Rachar, 6'8" Bryson Kool and 6'6" Graham Bath combined to go 2 for 18 from the field. Alberta got an energtic effort from burly post Justin Vanloo, who scored 8 points and grabbed 7 rebounds but more importantly thrived in the physical play. 6'5" Neb Alkesic had 10 points including 2-2 from 3 for Alberta while 6'4" Andrew Parker had 12 points in a gutsy effort by the Bears in a hostile environment. The game could end up having significant implications for the wild card berth at the Canada West Final Four. See below for a game report from UBC.

Here is an overview of the Canada West playoff format from Canada West web site

Birds Upended By Bears VANCOUVER -- Alex Steele scored 10 of his game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter to lead his Golden Bears to a 75-70 upset over the No. 5 UBC Thunderbirds at War Memorial Gym on Friday. The Birds took a two point lead into the final frame, but Steele drew his side level early in the fourth quarter with a nice spin-move followed by a layup, and from then on, the Bears offense took over, dropping 26 points in the quarter. Steele was a thorn in UBC's side all night, hitting long three-pointers and picking up key steals all game long, and sharing the team rebounding lead as well, with eight boards on the day. Rebounding was an area of concern for UBC coach Kevin Hanson, as the Golden Bears held a 52-43 advantage on the boards on Friday. "We weren't ready to be physical and we are going to have to be if we want to go anywhere from here," said Hanson. "Some things we need to work on are post toughness and turning the ball over. We need to be more physical in the post, and they pressed us on the glass all game. Alberta played really well today." UBC made a late push to get the game tied, with Brent Malish and Chris Dyck hitting consecutive threes late in the quarter to bring the Birds within a single basket, but Blaine LaBranche couldn't hit a third straight three ball for UBC, and Alberta's Andrew Parker hit a pair of free-throws in the final seconds of the contest to put the game out of reach. Dyck led the T-Birds with 22 points on the night, followed by Malish, who finished up with 18 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. "Malish has been the consistent guy for us with his post play, but we need him on the perimeter as well," said Hanson. "Other guys have to start stepping up to play in the post." Malish was also 6-for-6 from the free throw line, which has been a trouble spot for the T-Birds lately. They were 22-for-34 as a team from the line on Friday, and are 11th out of 14 teams in the conference in therms of free-throw percentage, posting a .657 mark on the season. With the loss, UBC falls to 15-5, giving Victoria a chance to gain some ground on the Pacific Division leaders when they take on the Saskatchewan Huskies later on Friday. The Bears improve their record to 13-6 as they continue their pursuit of Central Division-leading Calgary down the stretch. The Birds will look to get back on the winning track on Saturday night when they host the Huskies at War Memorial Gym. Game time is 8:00 p.m.

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