By Thomas Becker
Photo Janessa Hogan
The UNB Varsity Reds took over in the third quarter and didn't look back, as they came away with a 107-92 win over the Panthers Saturday night.
UPEI trimmed the deficit to as few as three early in the third, but a powerful Varsity Reds squad – led by Donnavan Hastings' 31 points – was too much to overcome.
Hastings was one of five Varsity Reds to finish in double figures. Starters Hess Mayele and Kaleefah Henry contributed with 19 and 15 points, respectively. Spencer Dawson and Chris Spurrell, meanwhile, led the way off the bench with 12 and 11.
It was a grind-it-out affair in the first quarter, as the defensive energy was high. Hastings led the charge scoring seven of his 31 points for the Varsity Reds, who held the potent Panthers' offence to only 18 points on 30.8 per cent shooting.
A Mark Matheson three-pointer cut the deficit to one in the opening moments of the second. But Chris Spurell followed that up with a layup for UNB, forcing the Panthers to regroup with a timeout.
Following the timeout, the Varsity Reds went on a 6-0 spurt to make it 30-21, but the Panthers responded quickly with a 5-2 run, trimming the deficit to 32-26.
The Panthers cut it to as few as three, but Spencer Dawson drained a pair of baskets to push it back up to five. The Varsity Reds carried a 48-42 lead at halftime.
Hastings scored 20 in the first half, while Dawson added 12 for the Varsity Reds. Tyler Scott led the Panthers with 10.
A furious run to start the third quarter by Shavon Gayle and Matheson cut it to 50-47. But the Varsity Reds stormed right back with a 10-2 run, pushing the lead to 11, 60-49.
Mayele's eight-point quarter propelled UNB to a comfortable 77-64 advantage heading into the final frame.
The high powered Varsity Reds' offence that ranks third in the league, delivered yet again, scoring 30 points in the fourth quarter en route to the 107-92 final.
Six Panthers scored in double figures in the loss, including all five starters. Scott had a team-high 20 points.
The Panthers hit the road next where they'll face the Memorial Sea-Hawks. Tipoff is set for Feb. 11 at 6 p.m.