By Thomas Becker
Behind a powerful third-quarter surge, the UNB Reds took down the UPEI Panthers 91-74 for their fifth consecutive win.
After taking a six-point lead into the break, the Reds came out and doubled up the Panthers 34-17 in the decisive quarter.
The home team had no answers for Markus Masters and Ibrahima Doumbouya, who combined for 18 points in that 10-minute stretch. Doumbouya finished with a game-high 27 points on an efficient 10-of-16 shooting and 11 rebounds for the double-double, while Masters had 16 points and five assists.
"We turned up the heat," said Reds head coach Brent Baker. "We did what we needed to do in terms of banging shots and coming out relaxed."
Chris Spurrell had a solid game with 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals, while Daniel Pitcher and Derian Valdes reached double figures as well with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
"Sharing the ball is hard to preach these days, but when we do share it, we're a much better team," Baker said.
Doumbouya and UPEI's Adam Ryan went toe-to-toe as each player scored six of their teams' first 15 points in a tie game. Spurrell and Valdes then attacked the basket for back-to-back three-point plays, before the Panthers (3-12) closed the quarter on a 9-3 run, capped off by a Kamari Scott lay-in at the buzzer to take a 24-23 lead.
The Reds (11-5) opened the second quarter on an 8-3 run led by Doumbouya. The gifted forward had five of those points and helped his team take over the lead 30-27.
Both teams struggled to put up points in the quarter. The Panther were limited to just 12 points, while UNB had 18. Doumbouya was the best player on the floor and finished the half scoring five straight for the visitors, who led 41-35. The forward led all scorers with 16 at the break.
UNB made it 12-point game in the opening minute of the third on back-to-back three-pointers by Masters and Doumbouya. Following a Jamesley Jerome layup, the Reds went on a huge 21-1 run to break the game wide open, 68-38. Doumbouya had six of those points, while Masters and Spurell had five each. Through three, UNB led 75-72.
"We added a little bit of pressure on defence and we hit some shots. That's usually how it goes," said Baker of his team's third quarter performance.
The Panthers cut it to as few as 15 with four minutes to spare in the fourth, but Pitcher ended any hope of comeback with an ensuing triple to make it 85-67. The Reds would go on to win it 91-74.
Ryan had his best game of the season for UPEI scoring 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. Elijah Miller had a team-high 17 points and four assists. Jamesley Jerome, meanwhile, finished with 12 points and was a rebound shy of a double-double, while Kamari Scott contributed 10 points off the bench.
The Panthers travel to Wolfville Saturday for an 8 p.m. showdown with the Acadia Axemen.
Photo Credit: Janessa Hogan