CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The UPEI Panthers are healthy as they prepare for the second half of the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) men’s basketball season.
It is something they couldn’t say during a first half that saw them drop all seven regular season games.
“Hopefully we can build some momentum,” head coach Darrell Glenn said before Thursday’s practice. “We just haven’t had our same five starters healthy throughout the first part of the regular season.”
D’Adrian Allen, a six-foot-eight forward from Toronto, missed the first six games of the season. The first-year Panther, who is in his fourth year of eligibility, had 14 points and 13 rebounds in his debut against Acadia on Nov. 25.
Glenn said it was nice to get him back before the break and they will need him to stay healthy to be successful in the second half.
“D’Adrian can impact a game on both ends of the floor in a way that we don't have anybody else that can,” he said.
Rookie Marcus Cusinato has also missed five games during the first half.
The Panthers returned to the court from the Christmas break on Wednesday, practised Thursday and are back on the floor in exhibition action today. The Panthers play the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) Timberwolves in the Rod and Joan Shoveller Memorial Men's Basketball Tournament at 6 p.m. in Halifax.
Glenn said the tournament is a good chance to dust of some of the rust from not having played in a month, work on its game and try to get everybody on the floor during the weekend’s three contests.
“I’m hoping to see that we’ve improved and we understand, as a group, how hard we have to compete every possession . . . if we’re going to get better,” he said.
The young Panthers (0-7) open the 2018 portion of the AUS schedule Saturday, Jan. 6, at St. FX (3-4).
“My philosophy has always been, let’s just focus on what's in front of us, the next challenge,” Glenn said. “We’re just focused on us, how do we continue to get better.”
And while the first half has not gone as the team had hoped, Glenn said he was pleased with how the squad has handled the losses.
“I don't think anybody’s gotten negative,” he said. “I think everyone understands and believes that we're better than we’re playing, and there’s a lot of optimism around where we can be.”
Need to know
Rod and Joan Shoveller Memorial Men's Basketball Tournament
What – A university exhibition tournament, hosted by Dalhousie, taking place Dec. 29-31 in Halifax.
1 p.m. – Saint Mary’s vs. Concordia.
3 p.m. – St. FX vs. Acadia.
6 p.m. – UNBC vs. UPEI.
8 p.m. – Dalhousie vs. Mount Saint Vincent.
1 p.m. – Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser.
3 p.m. – Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 loser.
6 p.m. – Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner.
8 p.m. – Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner.
9 a.m. – Game 5 loser vs. Game 6 loser (seventh-place game)
11 a.m. – Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner (fifth-place game).
1 p.m. – Game 7 loser vs. Game 8 loser (third-place game)
3 p.m. – Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 (championship game).