By Thomas Becker
The veteran UNB Varsity Reds came into town and took care of business against a young Panthers squad trying to find its way and learn on the fly, in a 99-55 route Friday night.
"There are no cakewalks in the AUS," said head coach Brent Baker. "I told them after the game, don't get comfortable because tomorrow's another day."
Their bench productivity was outstanding on the night, putting together 63 of the 99 points scored. Leading the way was guard Jesse Kendall, who posted 15 points, including shooting 4-of-7 from the arc.
"We benefitted from making a bunch of threes tonight and that's going to come and go like the weather," Baker said.
The bench was a major lift to the team, giving their starters much needed rest as they prepare for battle the following night.
"If you want to win in this league, you need to have competitive depth and that's a big part of it."
After a slow start, Kendall came in as substitute and was instantly effective drilling back-to-back triples as UNB jumped to a 12-2 start. The Varsity Reds continued their strong quarter, where they led 22-8, while limiting the Panthers to just 23.5 per cent shooting. Kendall led the bench with nine in the first, as they combined to score 16 of the 22 points.
"Jesse is an accomplished shooter in this league, just injuries have curtailed his production," said Baker. "It's nice to have that option where we can put him in off the bench."
Another highlight in the quarter was UNB's star guard and Subway Player of the Game, Javon Masters, who reached a milestone with his 2,000-career point in the AUS.
The powerful Varsity Reds then pushed the lead to 20 in the early minutes of the second. The bench was effective again, eclipsing their first quarter performance with a 19-point second, as UNB took a commanding 49-25 lead at halftime.
Masters was stuck on 2,000 points for a while, until he broke out in the third with a 10-point quarter to push the lead to 74-46. He finished with 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting.
UNB continued to shoot lights out, dominating the final quarter 25-9, while shooting 62.5 per cent to come away with the 99-55 win.
The two teams will square off again for a Remembrance Day tilt on Nov. 11 at 8 p.m.
Photo credit: Janessa Hogan