It wasn’t a game with any real significance, but it’s one Justin McChesney will always remember.
The six-foot-ten University of British Columbia (UBC) recruit from Prince Rupert made his university debut for the basketball team on Thursday night, even if it was just an exhibition game.
“To play against a team on the UBC Thunderbirds was a pretty good experience. I’m excited for the rest of the season,” he said after the game.
McChesney’s team may have lost the game 89-71 to the NCAA Charlotte 49ers, but in their first game together, there was a lot they can take away from it.
Coming off the bench, the pride of Charles Hays Secondary School scored seven points, including knocking down a three-pointer. He also registered a couple personal fouls, one block and one assist.
“It was a good debut. It was a real lot of fun getting out there with the guys. I think we set a pretty good base; it’s something to work on.”
There is lots to work on, the 18-year-old quickly clarified.
Pitted against an athletic 49ers team, the Thunderbirds were worn out by their short bench. UBC only dressed eight players due to injuries and some absent team members, as opposed to the 15 players Charlotte rolled out.
Still, UBC led by a basket into the second quarter in front of 652 fans in War Memorial Gym at UBC. But it wouldn’t last long and the Thunderbirds trailed the rest of the game.
Even McChesney’s coach shared his excitement for the former high school star on Twitter.
“Tough one for the undermanned birds but great sign for the future,” UBC coach Kevin Hanson posted on his Twitter account directed to McChesney.
The game was part of a one-week tour of Canada by the 49ers to play several universities in Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island.
Charlotte guard, Braxton Ogbueze, who is entering his fourth year of collegiate basketball, led the game with 23 points. He credited the Thunderbirds for making things tough on them.
“We just came to get a challenge – which we did. We played a really good team out there tonight.”
The actual season doesn’t start for the Thunderbirds until Oct. 14, when they take on Lethbridge, but McChesney is ready.
“I look forward to the rest of the games,” he said.