© Jason Malloy/The Guardian
Tyler Scott, right, defends Kyle Welton at Thursday's UPEI Panthers practice.
Tim Kendrick wants his UPEI Panthers men's basketball players to get their hands up and in passing lanes tonight.
"We're not airplanes, we're skyscrapers," he said during Thursday's practice.
"Once the hands come up here," he said, raising his own hands to demonstrate, "all of a sudden those passing lanes are filled."
The Panthers (10-6) host the Memorial Sea-Hawks (6-10) tonight at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. Both games are worth four points in the Atlantic University Sport standings.
Kendrick and his staff have implemented a couple of changes for this weekend's matchup, but he was keeping those close to the vest on Thursday.
"We're trying to do things that are going to make them a little uncomfortable," he said.
UPEI started the season 5-0 but has lost four of its last five games.
"We have a pretty proud group and we don't like the way things have gone the last couple of weeks either," Kendrick said. "We're going to come out and play as hard as we can."
Kendrick said the opposing teams have played well recently, but he noted his team has not been healthy either. It looked Thursday like the team was turning the corner on a flu bug, which has been going through the squad in recent weeks.
The team also had almost all its players on the court at practice when the communication and energy was evident inside the Panthers den.
Forward Brad States said getting close to a healthy squad is big, not only on game day, but in preparation for games.
"We get to go full speed in practice," he said, noting the increased energy that brings. "It just lifts the whole gym up."
Forwards Vasilije Curcic and Caleb Gould, who average 20.3 and 15.6 points per game, respectively, lead the Sea-Hawks attack.
States at 19.1 is second in team scoring behind Tyler Scott, who is second in the country at 25.9.
States said they want to dictate the pace to the Sea-Hawks.
"They're big, but I don't believe they're as athletic as us," he said. "I think they're going to have a hard time catching up with us once we get running."
A look at the UPEI Panthers remaining regular season basketball games:
Memorial at UPEI.
Memorial at UPEI.
UPEI at Dalhousie.
UPEI at UNB.
March 4 to 6
AUS championship at Scotiabank Centre in Halifax.