By Thomas Becker
A spirited fourth quarter effort by the UPEI Panthers, coupled with big baskets from their veteran leader, Milorad Sedlarevic, was enough to take down the perennial powerhouse Dalhousie Tigers 70-67 Sunday afternoon.
Down three with 7:51 remaining, the fifth-year forward willed his team ahead 58-57 after he was fouled on a made three-pointer. A little over two minutes later, Sedlarevic drained another triple, turned to the crowd and raised his arms, knowing full well that the game was theirs for the taking.
"We had a lot of big plays in the fourth quarter," said Sedlarevic, who finshed with a game-high 27 points and was named the Subway Player of the Game. "We moved the ball really well and we didn't play one-on-one basketball which was costly for us in other games."
The win also snapped an eight-game losing streak and put them back in playoff contention.
"It feels great. We played well against St. FX, too and I think that really helped us in this game," Sedlarevic added.
Head coach Darrell Glenn has seen how hard his team's been working and was glad to see the results come through.
"It's a special win," he said. "Our backs are up against a wall and we wanted to get four points out of this weekend."
Similar to Friday night's game, the Panthers (4-8) started hot from the field. After Judy Georges drilled a triple, Sedlarevic put up two more, as the Panthers went ahead 13-6.
Jamesley Jerome was beast in the paint, scoring 11 of his 16 points in the frame, where they led 20-15. He was also active defensively and helped contain the Tigers (6-6) to just 27.8 per cent shooting.
UPEI continued to surprise the Tigers and opened the second with a 15-5 run to push the lead to 35-20. Jack MacAulay was effective of the bench and scored six of those points on a pair of threes.
After Dalhousie head coach Rick Plato grilled his team in a timeout, the Tigers came out inspired and countered with a 10-0 run of their own. Sascha Kappos and Shamar Burrows – who didn't see the floor in the first – combined for nine points in the run.
UPEI scored just two points in the final 6:02, as the visitors evened the score 37-37 at the break. Second chance points were an issue for the Panthers, who surrendered eight of them in the half off 10 offensive rebounds.
Baskets were hard to find in the third, but a couple long-range jumpers from Jordan Brathwaite late in the quarter pulled the Tigers ahead 49-44.
Dalhousie continued to stifle the Panthers and held them to just 11 points on 23.1 per cent shooting in the quarter to carry a 55-48 advantage in the fourth.
Refusing to go down without a fight, the home team stormed ahead 58-57 behind a 10-2 that was capped off a by a four-point play by Sedlarevic.
"We talked about game-winning plays, and that was one of them," Glenn said.
With momentum on their side, Sedlarevic deposited his fifth triple of the contest and immediately acknowledged the crowd as they roared in excitement with their Panthers ahead 63-57. Dalhousie inched closer on a few occasions, but fell short 70-67.
UPEI hits the road next weekend where they'll take on the Memorial Sea-Hawks.
Photo Credit: Janessa Hogan