By Thomas Becker
Behind a strong third quarter, in which they outscored their opponent by 13, the Saint Mary's Huskies took care of business against the UPEI Panthers 86-68.
Subway Player of the Game, Kemar Alleyne scored a game-high 22 points on Friday night, to go along with nine rebounds to propel his team to victory.
Looking for that elusive first win of the season, the Panthers (0-9) came out with a lot of energy and threw the first punch. Amin Suleman caught fire early, draining three consecutive triples to put them up 13-5. After the Huskies (5-4) burned a timeout, Suleman was promptly fouled shooting a three and increased the lead 16-5.
But that lead quickly evaporated, as Saint Mary's used a 13-0 run – capped off by back-to-back threes from Brent Martindale – to jump ahead 18-16.
Suleman's 12 first-quarter points kept the Panthers in the game, but they still trailed 23-21. He finished with a team-high 15 points, while Alleyne countered with eight for the Huskies.
Saint Mary's extended the lead 35-28 in the opening minutes of the second, but the resilient Panthers continued to pester them, finishing the quarter on a 13-7 run to cut the deficit to just one at halftime, 42-41.
Martindale, who finished with 16 points, continued to shoot the ball well, leading the Huskies with 13 at the half, while UPEI's bench stepped up with 10 second-quarter points to keep pace.
It took the Panthers almost four minutes to get their first field goal of the second half, as the offence sputtered in the quarter, where they scored just 13 points on 25 per cent shooting.
The Huskies offence, meanwhile, hit their stride and put up 26 points on a sweltering 57.9 per cent. Alleyne had another strong quarter with eight points as he helped extend the lead 68-54 heading into the fourth.
With a second game less than 24 hours away, Saint Mary's quickly turned to their bench to close things out, as they took Game 1 of the weekend series 86-68.
The Panthers look to avenge their loss when the two teams hit the hardwood again on Jan. 13 at 8 p.m.