CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The UPEI Panthers made a push late, but couldn’t complete the comeback after digging themselves a big hole.
The Dalhousie Tigers built a 21-point lead with 1:32 left in the third quarter and hung on for a 90-86 win in Atlantic University Sport men’s basketball action.
Trailing 35-34 with 2:04 left in the second quarter, the defending conference champion Tigers went on a 9-0 run to close out the first half with a 43-35 lead. They outscored the host Panthers 30-18 in the third to take a 73-53 lead with 10 minutes to play.
“We just didn't come out (of the half) with enough intensity and poise to play through,” Panthers head coach Tim Kendrick said. “They’re too good to get down and expect to come back in one quarter.”
At the end of the first half, Ryan Harnett, Jarred Reid and Sven Stammberger all hit treys to beat the Panthers defence.
“We broke down a little bit defensively and left two guys wide open that we had said we wanted to make dribble the basketball,” Kendrick said. “That hurt us going into the third quarter.”
The Tigers seemed to stymie the Panthers offence at times with physical play, by contesting most shots and with help defenders often cutting off drives to the rim.
UPEI didn’t quit, making a spirited run when the game appeared to be over, but could only get the deficit to four in the final minute.
Sven Stammberger had 19 points to pace the Tigers, who also received 18-point nights from Ritchie Kanza Mata and Ryall Stroud.
“He hurt us,” Kendrick said. “We needed to do a better job with Stroud.”
Milorad Sedlarevic had a team-high 21 points for UPEI while Dut Dut had 13 and 15 rebounds.
Tyler Scott, a two-time all-Canadian, had seven of his 13 points in the fourth quarter. The fifth-year senior is sixth in the conference in scoring this season at 17.1 points per game after averaging 25 last season and 24 in 2014-15, his first season with the Panthers. He didn’t attempt a free throw Saturday night.
“I don't think there’s anything we have to do any differently,” Kendrick said. “I think, collectively, we all have to play better. His opportunities will be there.”
Scott, who was playing with his ring finger and pinky on his left hand taped together, remained in the gym working with assistant coaches after the game.
The Panthers (2-7) are seventh in the eight-team conference and eight points back of Acadia for the final playoff spot. With five four-point games remaining, the Panthers can make a run, but it needs to start with one win.
“We’re sitting in a precarious spot,” Kendrick admitted. “We have 11 games left and we've got to get points.”
The team’s next opportunity is Friday when UPEI travels to Sydney, N.S., to play the winless Cape Breton Capers (0-8) in a four-point game.
A look at the statistics from Saturday’s UPEI-Dalhousie men’s basketball game.
Score by the quarter
Dalhousie 13 30 30 17 – 90.
UPEI 18 17 18 33 – 86.
Dalhousie – Sven Stammberger 19, Ritchie Kanza Mata 18, Ryall Stroud 18 and Kashrell Lawrence 14.
UPEI – Milorad Sedlarevic 21, Tyler Scott 13, Dut Dut 13 and Lorenzo Parker 13.
Dalhousie – Ryall Stroud 11.
UPEI – Dut Dut 15.
Dalhousie – Ritchie Kanza Mata 6.
UPEI – Shavon Gayle 4 and Amin Suleman 4.
Dalhousie – 47.9 (35-73)
UPEI – 40.8 (29-71)
Dalhousie – 33.3 (6-18)
UPEI – 27.6 (8-29)
Dalhousie – 66.7 (14-21)
UPEI – 83.3 (20-24)
Dalhousie – 6-2.
UPEI – 2-7.