The Varsity Reds went 2 and 0 in their double-header weekend in their season home openers against Acadia. They bested the Axemen 88-72 in their Saturday night game.
Leading scorer Javon Masters said the difference between tonight's game and last night's can be chalked to their strength in transition.
"Not many teams in this conference can stop us in transition," he said. "So when we get stops and whatnot, when we get the ball we can't be stopped."
Right from the beginning it was a back-and-forth game, with neither team able to get a dominant lead.
A huge dunk from Acadia's Shaquille Smith gave Acadia their first lead, but it was short-lived as UNB came back to tie it up 18-18. It wasn't until Jordan Irvine subbed in late in the first and hit a huge three-pointer followed by another by teammate Will McFee that UNB started to pull away. Acadia fought back, but the Reds ended the first quarter 24-21.
McFee was called for a block and went off half way through the second with three fouls to his name. Acadia took the lead again when Jordan Irvine got a defensive foul and Smith scored. Despite some well-executed plays, the Reds missed a few easy shots and layups, making it easy for the Axemen to grab the rebounds and make the baskets.
Acadia's Kyle Arsenault finished the second with a huge three, and Acadia would enter the third leading 47-42.
"We gave up 47 points in the first half, and we never do that," said second-year Masters. "I knew Acadia was going to come out much more tough, more physical, and we didn't play as well as we should have but still got the win."
Masters and Nikola Mandic came in to bring it to a one-point deficit early in the third. Mandic took the line off a foul and UNB once again was in the lead 54-53. Acadia came back quickly, but Dylan Baker landed a huge dunk and the V-Reds would once again pull away.
The V-Reds came out hot in the third and outscored Acadia 26 to 12, finishing 68-59 at the end of the third, their first strong lead since the game started.
Both teams seemed to struggle with their shots in the fourth, with multiple players airing the ball.
Masters would come in with a three-pointer, fading into his own bench, and the V-Reds had momentum once again. Gianmarco Luciani, who has ten points and five rebounds for Acadia, got his fifth foul and was out late in the fourth. Acadia's Ben Miller was out only seconds later, putting two of the strongest Axemen out of commission.
It was a foul-filled couple of minutes as Kyle Arsenault got his fourth, and a technical foul on Smith put Masters on the line, getting him to 33 points - putting him 6 and 3 on the line.
McFee would dribble the ball and run out the clock, giving the V-Reds their second victory in two days.
"As the season goes on, I think we're going to keep getting better and better."
Bronte James for UNB Sports Information