© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Rashad Whack of the Island Storm tries a slam dunk as Jean-Richard Volcy of the Saint John Mill Rats tries to block the shot during NBL action in the Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown Thursday night.
The Saint John Mill Rats played thief in the night and stole away a 107-104 win from the Island Storm in National Basketball League of Canada action on Thursday in Charlottetown.
Down 60-50 at halftime, Saint John hung around thanks to tenacity and missed shots by a Storm team lacking jump, and closed the gap to 84-83 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth, Saint John got timely shooting from Gabe Freeman, who had eight points and a snazzy assist to J.R. Volcy, which gave the Mill Rats a lead it wouldn't surrender.
"We basically stole one tonight. This is a good team that plays well at home. (In the fourth) we executed better on defence and slowed them down a little bit," said Freeman. "We just have to play harder to start the game. We start poorly . . . and that gets us in a big hole."
Freeman finished with a game-high 30 points, including 9-of-11 from the free-throw line, and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Saint John point guard Anthony Anderson had 20 points and nine assists while Doug Herring Jr. chipped in 17 points.
Saint John's Anthony Stover nabbed a game-high 14 boards.
Brent Jennings led the Storm with 21 points, while Terry Thomas had 17 points and Nick Evans chipped in 14 points.
Power forward Brian Addison had 14 points and a team-high 13 rebounds, and agreed on Saint John's thievery.
"They definitely did come in here and steal one. (In the third) we tried to get our energy back," said Addison. "Now we have to stay together in these tough times and not be negative to each other, fix it and get a W."
Storm point guard Josiah Turner had a game-high 13 assists and nine points in his Eastlink Centre debut.
Saint John upped its record to 11-6, good for second in the Atlantic Division. The Storm dropped to 6-12 and sit in the division basement.
The Storm travels to Halifax on Saturday for a 7 p.m. start versus the division-leading Hurricanes (10-4), before hosting the Orangeville A's (5-7) on Monday for an Islander Day matinee.
Game time is 2 p.m. at Eastlink Centre.
A look at Thursday's National Basketball League of Canada game at Eastlink Centre:
Saint John 107
Island Storm 104
Top Three Scorers
Saint John – Gabe Freeman, 30, Anthony Anderson, 20, Doug Herring Jr., 17.
Island Storm – Brent Jennings, 21, Terry Thomas, 17, Nick Evans, Brian Addison, 14.
Top Three Rebounders
Saint John – Anthony Stover, 14, Gabe Freeman, 10, Doug Herring Jr., 6.
Island Storm – Brian Addison, 13, Terry Thomas, 8, Brent Jennings, 7.
Saint John – Doug Herring Jr., 3-for-7.
Island Storm – Brent Jennings, 2-for-4.
Saint John – Anthony Anderson, 9.
Island Storm – Josiah Turner, 13.
Saint John – Gabe Freeman, 9-for-11.
Island Storm – Rashad Whack, 4-for-5.
Saint John – 59
Island Storm – 52.
Team Shooting Percentage
Saint John – 42 per cent.
Island Storm – 46 per cent.
Team Free-Throw Percentage
Saint John – 78 per cent.
Island Storm – 63 per cent.
50-50 Draw - $576.