The first quarter was evenly matched, with the T-Birds edging the Timberwolves 27-21 through ten minutes.
The Thunderbirds started to use their length advantage in the second quarter. Big men Connor Morgan, Grant Shepard, and Luka Zaharijevic muscled the ball inside, and helped UBC double their lead by halftime, 50-38.
Quarter three saw more offensive efficiency from the visitors, outscoring the Timberwolves 34-21. Vaggelis Loukas was UNBC’s best player, battling for 20 points in 25 games on the day.
“We came out a little flat, and gave up some easy baskets early in the second half,” said Timberwolves guard Tyrell Laing. “We dug ourselves a hole. Couple key guys get early fouls and it took a toll on us.”
The silver lining for Todd Jordan’s Timberwolves was the fourth quarter. UNBC battled hard, and with the aid of a 26-16 quarter, finished the game down 15, 100-85. T-Birds guard Phil Jalapoor paced the visitors with 29 points.
Morgan, coming off a Canada West Player of the Year campaign, pitched in 20 points and 12 rebounds.
“He is long. Six-foot-nine, long arms, and can jump,” said Laing of Morgan. “It just makes it that much more difficult to guard him.”
With the loss, the Timberwolves drop to 2-3, while the Thunderbirds improve to 3-2 on the Canada West season.
“Tomorrow is a new game, but we need to carry that momentum from the fourth quarter forward,” said Laing. “That grit and toughness will help us next game.”