The UNBC Timberwolves won gold in men’s basketball with a 69-61 win over the VIU Mariners, sparked by MVP Francis Rowe’s 16 points. Joel Rybachuk was the UNBC Player of the game with 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. For VIU, Greg Gillies was named Player of the Game. The Timberwolves’ Sam Raphael was named to the All-Star team, along with VIU Mariners Patrick McCarthy and Jacob Thom.
The Timberwolves came out on fire to start the game, quickly building a 13-2 lead before Joel Rybachuk’s trey from far outside the line made it 16-2. They hit four three-pointers in the opening quarter and shot 9/15. The Mariners struggled to get good looks and shot 4/14 to start the game. When they weren’t hitting from outside, Bily Cheng and Rowe were getting inside the paint and dishing off to teammates, and Wolves led 23-10 after one.
The Timberwolves defence was smothering the Mariners ball-handlers forcing turnovers. But as quickly as they scored, the Timberwolves offence went cold. Richard Townsend Gant’s three gave the Mariners some momentum in the second quarter, and when the Mariners Brandon Jones stole the ball and scored uncontested, the lead was cut to 29-21 to end the first half. VIU outscored UNBC 11-6 in the second quarter.
The Mariners kept up the momentum, opening the third with a 6-0 run and cutting the lead to 29-27. UNBC answered with a 7-0 run of their own and the teams continued to trade baskets. Thom and Jones scored for the Mariners and converted UNBC turnovers to make it 39-35. Barton’s basket and free throw when McCarthy picked up his third foul ended the quarter 44-35 for the Timberwolves.
The game opened up in the last quarter. The Mariners twice cut the lead to five points at 50-45 and 56-51, before Thom hit a tough fadeaway in the lane to make it 56-53. When Billett scored off a nice feed from Jones to make it 58-57 for UNBC it looked like the Mariners might finally take the lead. But Sam Raphael stepped up and nailed a trey from the top of the arc to make it 61-57 and seal the game. A Charles Barton basket and Rowe’s free throw made it 64-57 before the teams traded free throws to end the game.
UNBC becomes the first school to win both men’s and women’s basketball gold in the seame season since UCFV won the BCCAA championship in 2003-04.