It’s a tale of two teams.
The UPEI Panthers men’s basketball team routed the UNB Varsity Reds 99-76 Friday night to move into a three-way tie for first in the Atlantic University Sport standings.
Meanwhile, the women’s team dropped their battle with the Reds by a score of 80-69 and remain tied for last.
The UPEI men’s team dominated from the outset, entered the half up 54-39, and scored at will throughout the game.
UPEI owned the paint, outscoring UNB 60-32.
Manock Lual had a huge game, scoring 27 points to lead all scorers, while adding 11 rebounds.
“He’s a horse,” said UPEI head coach Tim Kendrick. “He can really play. He’s as tough as there is in this league, and he has been for a long time. I’ll tell you what, I’m glad he plays for UPEI.”
Five players finished in double figures for the Panthers. After Lual, Jonathan Cooper had 16, Terrance Brown 15, Geoff Doane 14 and Donnie Moss 11.
Alex DesRoches had 25 points to lead UNB.
“That’s UPEI Panther basketball,” Kendrick said. “That’s the way we roll here now. We’re going to play hard all the time. We’re going to be in attack mode at both ends all the time.”Fourth-year forward Jermaine Duke said the positive energy and team chemistry stems from one place.
“Our coach,” said the 23-year-old business student. “He builds great confidence in us. He tells us to go out every day and work hard. He’s never once been negative on us. It’s been great.”
UPEI is now tied with St. F.X. and Cape Breton for first in the AUS.
UPEI let a 44-40 halftime lead slip away, dropping its game to UPEI by a score of 80-69.
Reds’ star Claire Colborne scored a game-high 22 for UNB, who improved to 4-7 on the year, including a three-point dagger late in the game that put her team up by 10.
Jenna Jones led the Panthers (2-9) with 11 points. Katelynn Donahoe, Nakita Newman and Emily MacEachern each had 10.
“I think we stopped getting to the rim,” said head coach Carly Clarke of her team’s second half troubles. “We had been penetrating well and finding open shots in the first half. I thought the tempo of the game slowed down a little bit . . . That gave us some trouble.”
UPEI shot a hot 54 per cent in the first half, but cooled to a low 30 per cent in the second half. More concerning was the fact the team only made 11 of 25 shots from the free-throw line.
“Our goal is to shoot 80 percent from the foul line. Today we were below 50,” said Clarke. “That’s not going to get it done. Last week, we were 30 for 34 from the foul line and we were successful. We need to be better for sure.”
UPEI takes on the Dalhousie Tigers (2-7) today. Game time is 6 p.m.
“We have to move on,” said Clarke. “We can’t dwell on the fact that we got beat. We competed and we’re competing in games regularly, and we haven’t done that in a long time.”