There may not be a better starting lineup in the country.
Credit an early start by Doug Plumb, a late explosion by Nathan Yu, and a dominant effort from Kamar Burke for the UBC Thunderbirds 68-52 win over the University of Victoria Vikes Friday, Feb. 10 at UBC’s War Memorial Gym.
The trio of seniors have at times been able to pull back a little due to the great playing of rookie Malcolm Williams and second-year forward Tommy Nixon, but as the calendar nears March and each game becomes more important than the last, it’s the seniors who are pacing the Thunderbirds.
“That’s just a great team. That’s just what a great team does,” said Yu after the game.
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UBC’s Kamar Burke finishes an up and under baseline dunk with authority during the Thunderbird’s 77-43 win over UBC-O on Friday, Jan. 27. – Brian Jones Photo
When the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus made the jump from the CCAA basketball ranks to the CIS, it wasn’t expected of them to come out dominating their established Canada West conference opponents.
So when the aptly named “Heat” travelled down from frigid Kelowna weather to Vancouver for a pair of regular-season matchups against the original University of British Columbia, the Thunderbirds, it was a stretch to assume that a passionate rivalry would ensue.
When a team gets pummeled by 34 points one night then 30 the next, it’s safe to say that a rivalry wasn’t sparked, but that the Heat were simply dealt consecutive beat downs that illustrate the level they need to reach.
Fifth-year UBC point guard Nathan Yu drives in for a layup against Alberta on Friday, January 6. - Brian Jones Photo
In late November, when the UBC Thunderbirds dropped two Canada West regular season matches to Lethbridge and Calgary, I honestly thought that it was going to be a rebuilding year for last year’s national bronze medalists.
Although they had opened up the 2011-12 campaign with four straight wins against Canada West competition, I came to the conclusion that after that brutal Alberta road trip, that this wouldn’t be the year where the T-Birds claimed that elusive gold at nationals.
After the two-game skid, UBC had a month lay-off and then headed down to Santa Barbara where they split a pair of games against UC Merced and Trinity International University.
Then 2012 happened.