Teams go toe-to-toe

Jason Malloy
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UPEI-Cape Breton men’s game comes down to final shot

Deontay Smith of the UPEI Panthers goes up for the rebound against the Cape Breton University Capers.

Deontay Smith missed a shot at the buzzer as the UPEI Panthers lost 92-90 to the Cape Breton Capers Sunday in Atlantic University Sport (AUS) men’s basketball.

“I thought I was going to knock that down,” Smith told The Guardian after the game. “When I released it, I saw it come up a little short, but it was a good look.”

Smith said the team had called a play for Mandrez Downey to pop out from the baseline off an inbounds play with 5.8 seconds left.

“I saw that it wasn’t there,” Smith said. “I saw the clock prior to two seconds, I had to shoot it.”

The Panthers went toe-to-toe with the country’s second-ranked team and coming that close to handing them their first loss stung.

“It’s a tough loss, but we can’t dwell on it too long,” Smith said. “We have to move on and get ready for X this weekend coming up. (It’s) two big games for us.”

Sean McCormick hit the game-winning shot for the Capers. His teammates were ribbing him after the game.

“He was actually passing over my head to Kayon (Mayers),” McCormick explained. “I jumped up and caught it  . . . they left a big gap in the middle so I was able to pick that.”

He said the Panthers have pushed them this season.

“P.E.I. is pretty tough,” McCormick said. “They gave us kind of an eye-opener. We need to start picking it up if we want to do good at AUS.”

Geoff Doane led the Panthers with 25 points and 12 rebounds while Smith had 23 and eight.

“It’s tough, especially at home,” Doane said of the loss. “We like to rep our home court really well and it’s always tough to lose at home.”

The team has been dealing with a string of injuries this season and it was a factor in the outcome, he said. “Obviously, the stamina, the second game of the weekend, caught us with us.”

Coach Tim Kendrick said he liked the way his team battled during the contest.

“We didn’t shoot the ball from three very well, which is usually one of our strong suits,” he said, referring to the team’s three-of-28 shooting from behind the arc.

Brian Ofori had a pair of thunderous dunks in the first half in transition that pumped up the home crowd.

Sunday’s game was pushed back from Saturday due to the storm. “I think a lot of guys kind of found it tough because we’re in just the hotel and couldn’t really go outside, so we’re sort of cooped up in our room,” McCormick said.

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Highlights

u Score - Cape Breton 92, UPEI 90.

u Top Scorers - UPEI:– Geoff Doane 25, Deontay Smith 23 and Jermaine Duke 12; Cape Breton: Kayon Mayers 21, Sean McCormick 16 and Meshack Lufile 14.

u Score By Quarters:

Team                1     2    3    4

UPEI                22  26  19  23

Cape Breton  21  24  23  24

u Up Next – UPEI hosts St. F.X. Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 6 p.m. before going to Memorial Feb. 22 and 23 to close out the regular season.

Organizations: Atlantic University Sport, Panthers

Geographic location: Cape Breton

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