Despite a surge late in the fourth quarter, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies ended up on the losing end of an 81-72 final Friday night against the visiting University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.
The Huskies trailed by 11 points with just over three minutes to play, but cut that deficit to just four thanks to an Alex Unruh three-pointer with 1:16 remaining. That would be as close as Saskatchewan would get as they fell to 1-4 on the season. UBC improved to 4-1 with its fourth-straight victory.
The night looked promising for the host Huskies as they jumped out to an early 10-3 lead. Saskatchewan held the lead until the final minute of the opening frame with the T-Birds taking a 19-18 lead after the first.
Saskatchewan responded with a quick spurt in the second to retake the lead as the teams went back and forth until tied at 30. At that point UBC would go on a 10-0 run to lead 40-30. The Huskies would not regain the lead after that spurt.
Any momentum that the green ad white may have gained from a Mack Burns dunk at the buzzer to end the first half was quickly extinguished by UBC as they extended the lead to 11 in the opening minutes of the third. The Huskies late spurt to cut it to four was as close as they would get.
Jordan Jensen-Whyte scored 16 of his 22 game-high points in the first half to lead the T-Birds. Connor Morgan added 13 points and led UBC with five rebounds and four steals.
Mack Burns tallied up 12 points on the night to go along with five rebounds, four steals and a pair of blocks. Alex Burns and Chan De Ciman each chipped in with 10 points off the bench for the Huskies. Trevor Severinski pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.
The two-teams meet again tomorrow night at the PAC. The tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. following the women's game.