By Thomas Becker
In his final home game as a Panther, Milorad Sedlarevic went out in style.
The fifth-year forward went off for 19 points in the second half alone and shot a perfect 6-of-6 from beyond the arc. He'd finish with 25 points and eight rebounds to propel the UPEI Panthers over the Acadia Axemen 91-85.
"It feels great for sure," said Sedlarevic, who was named the Subway Player of the Game. "But I have to give all the credit to my teammates. They were setting screens, they found me open and fortunately, I was making the shots."
The win also gives the Panthers (5-13) something to play for next weekend in a pair of four-point games, as they look to sneak into the playoffs.
"We have to play like we did today," Sedlarevic said. "There's going to be mistakes, but if there's energy and effort then we can play with anyone in this league."
Before all of them got going, Jack MacAulay continued where he left off from the night before and drilled back-to-back triples for the early 6-6 tie.
The bench provided a big lift with 12 points in quarter, led by Jerome's seven, as the Panthers carried a 22-15 lead into the second. The reserves combined for 57 points on the night, compared to Acadia's 22.
UPEI attacked the rim with authority to open the second. With a combination of layups and free throws, they opened up a 34-20 advantage.
Acadia's Ben Miller and Nick De Palma went to work after that and combined for nine points in a 13-4 run to trim the deficit to three, 34-31.
Jerome continued his strong play and went in for back-to-back layups, followed by a Sedlarevic lay-in to push the lead back up to 40-33. They'd go into halftime up 47-41, thanks to Brooks, who closed the quarter with six consecutive points. He had 13 at the break, while De Palma was a perfect 6-of-6 for 16 points.
Sedlarevic couldn't be contained in the third, where he scored 13 points on a perfect 4-of-4 from deep. Each time the Axemen (6-13) made a push, he and Brooks always countered with a big basket to retain the lead, as the Panthers went into the fourth ahead 68-64.
After Marcus Upshaw opened the quarter with a triple, the back-and-forth affair began. But with 1:51 remaining, Suleman buried his first three of the game for decisive lead. Sedlarevic matched that with a trey of his own and suddenly they were up 88-82 with a win in sight and roaring crowd behind them.
"They're always coming in big numbers," Sedlarevic said of the Panther faithful. "It feels great. The gym was packed and everybody was cheering."
UPEI will close out the regular season on the road, where they'll face Cape Breton (Friday) and St. FX (Saturday).
Photo Credit: Janessa Hogan