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T’Birds looking to avenge last year’s sweep by the Bisons

In their first round playoff series, the UBC Thunderbirds (17-3) will host the University of Manitoba Bisons (12-8) in a best of 3 weekend, beginning Thursday at War Memorial Gym.

The T’Birds are a perfect 11-0 at home and are riding a 6 game win streak heading into tomorrow night’s game. UBC’s Head Coach Kevin Hanson spoke about the high quality basketball his players have been playing recently, especially in the final games of the regular season at home against Victoria.

“The last regular season weekend against UVIC was really good for us…playing against a rival team in that last weekend was very good preparation heading into playoffs.”

The Thunderbirds are led by seniors Conor Morgan (Victoria, BC), who is 3rd in all of Canada West in points per game, and Phil Jalalpoor (Schifferstadt, Germany), their only other player averaging double figures.

This season, Hanson’s squad are looking to hit the reset button on their Canada West quarterfinal from last year. These two teams faced off at War Memorial Gym last year resulting in Manitoba completing the sweep in two tightly contested games, 79-75 and an overtime thriller of 98-96. Regardless of not playing each other this season, both teams know each other very well and revenge is called upon, as the T’Birds were 19-1 last season, riding an 11 game win streak into that fateful series.

“We’re looking forward to redeeming ourselves…Winner moves on to Canada West semi finals next week,” says assistant coach Vern Knopp.

Manitoba is coming off a play in game last weekend, in which they defeated Brandon University 82-76. Senior guard Justus Allen (Winnipeg, MB) had a game high 31 points, playing nearly every minute of the game. Alleyn is leading the Canada West in scoring at 24.1 points per game and has 3 30+ point games in his last 6. Coach Hanson is looking at his past coaching of Alleyn this summer in the FISE University Games to find a way to slow the scorer down.

“Justus can score in a lot of different ways. He is a huge part of their success this year…we want to be able to use the tactics that we have worked on all year within our system.”

Hanson is not worried that they’ve had a bye week and haven’t played a meaningful game in two weeks, as they “tried to stay as close to the normal routine.”

The ‘Birds and Bisons go head to head Thursday and Friday afternoon at 4pm in War Memorial Gym, with a 3rd game being played if necessary Saturday at 3pm.

Written by: Chris Evans

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