(CHARLOTTETOWN, PE) The UPEI Panthers wasted little time showing fans why they're the league's top team, scoring a 94-75 win over the UNB Varsity Reds.
The Varsity Reds(6-6), came in aiming to dethrone the first-place Panthers(9-2), but were overpowered. Six Panthers scored in double figures.
"It's a good win for us," said head coach Tim Kendrick. "We controlled the game from the start and didn't let up."
Tyler Scott got things going early for the Panthers with a deep three-pointer, as UPEI grabbed a quick 8-3 lead.
The Panthers defence stepped up, holding the VReds to just 12 points on 20-percent shooting in the quarter.
"I really liked our defensive intensity and it showed in the results," said Kendrick.
After scoring just three points in the first quarter, UNB's top scorer, Javon Masters, found his shooting stroke and drained a couple threes, cutting the deficit to five.
Following a Panthers timeout, a refocused home squad went to work, extending their lead 40-30.
With UNB falling further behind, Masters continued his strong play. He cut the deficit to single digits, but UPEI's Jake Kendrick converted a three-point play, pushing the lead to 45-33.
Masters' 13-point quarter kept UNB in the game, but his team still trailed 45-35 at half-time.
Both teams traded baskets to open the third until Milorad Sedlarevic found an open lane for the easy two-handed dunk. That began a run that gave the Panthers a comfortable 59-42 advantage.
A timeout did little to help UNB, as the Panthers continued to roll with a 33-point quarter for a 78-51 lead.
"We talk all the time about coming out of the third quarter and owning that quarter. And we did it again tonight," said Kendrick.
That lead was more than enough as UPEI came away with the dominant 94-75 win. The Panthers remain unbeaten at home this season.
Mark Matheson led UNB scorers with 22, while Masters had 21.
The Varsity Reds are off until next Saturday(Jan. 30th), when they host the Memorial University Sea Hawks, at the Richard J. Currie Center.
BY – THOMAS BECKER, FOR UPEI ATHLETICS
PHOTO CREDIT: THOMAS BECKER