Saturday, 1 March 2008

CW Final: UBC wins Canada West championship

UBC 92, Alberta 90 UBC wins Canada West with a tight win over Alberta. T-BIRDS EDGE BEARS TO REPEAT AS CONFERENCE CHAMPS CALGARY – Dyck bested Steele in the battle of all-star guards, and the UBC Thunderbirds are Canada West men’s basketball champions once again after edging the Alberta Golden Bears 92-90 at the University of Calgary’s Jack Simpson Gym Saturday night. Led by Chris Dyck (4th year, Winnipeg) and his 27 points, the T-Birds fended off a pesky Bears squad that made it close until the very end and had multiple opportunities to extend the evening, but a fourth quarter comeback fell just short. “We saw some pretty explosive, offensive basketball tonight,” said Kevin Hansen, the eight-year coach of the Thunderbirds. “Both teams were pretty excited from last night, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from either team tonight. I think the intensity defensively for both teams will have to pick up in the next two weeks.” After three games at the Canada West Final Four where offence was often at a premium, fans were treated to an offensive show put on by two teams playing for seeding at the national championship after both had qualified with wins over Brandon and Calgary in Friday’s semi-finals. Dyck’s 27 points brought his weekend total to 53 as he led UBC to victories over both Central Division teams present at the Final Four, avenging regular season losses to both. “In the end I thought we went to him too much. He got on a bit of a roll again, and he had a great weekend for us defensively as well as offensively,” Hansen said. “He was able to use his athleticism tonight to score some threes as well as score inside, and we’re obviously going to need him to play pretty big for us in two weeks’ time.” UBC blew the game open late in the third quarter after a tight first half that saw the squads separated by only two points. Alberta did take a brief lead midway through the third after a conventional three-point play from Justin VanLoo (4th, Surrey, B.C.), but the Thunderbirds responded right back and went on an 11-3 run to end the period, capped off by a long-distance three from Dyck, and took a 75-66 lead into the final 10. The second team all-star wouldn’t find the hoop again on the night, however, with all 27 points coming in the first three quarters – and the Bears took advantage, slowly chipping away the Thunderbird lead in the fourth. A 20-foot jumper from Andrew Parker (5th, Edmonton) made the deficit just four. A backcourt violation gave the Bears the ball right back, and it looked as if momentum was swinging toward Alberta. VanLoo cut the lead to two at 86-84, and an offensive foul was charged to UBC’s Bryson Kool (4th, Pitt Meadows, B.C.) with 1:13 left on the clock. The inbound passer found a streaking Alex Steele alone inside UBC territory, and the Alberta bench rose to its feet in anticipation of the tying points. Steele, the Canada West player of the year, saw his right handed lay-up attempt bounce strong off the left rim and into the arms of the Thunderbirds, and Brent Malish (2nd, Langley, B.C.) responded immediately with a long jumper to extend the T-Bird lead to four. Alberta began to foul and got the opportunities it needed, and Scott Leigh (2nd, North Vancouver) made it a two-point game once again with a long trey. Three more UBC free throws made it a five-point cushion, however, and VanLoo’s three-ball from the parking lot at the buzzer wasn’t enough. VanLoo was the highest scoring Golden Bear on the night, collecting 25 points on 10 of 16 shooting. Steele added 20, while Parker had 14. Dyck led UBC offensively, but Malish was a monster on defence, grabbing 17 boards to go with his 15-point night. Matt Rachar (4th, Burnaby, B.C.) posted 14, while Blain Lablanche (3rd, Edmonton) had a dozen off the bench. Both Alberta and UBC will represent Canada West at the CIS Final 8 in Ottawa March 14-16.


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