Javon Masters is picking things up where he left off.
Last year’s CIS men’s basketball rookie of the year guided the UNB Varsity Reds to two wins over the Acadia Axemen this past weekend. In Friday night’s season opener at the Richard J. Currie Center, Masters got off to a slow start but would end the night with 19 points in UNB’s 83-76 win.
“Everybody was a little worried last night. He had an uncharacteristically bad kind of game for him,” said Varsity Reds head coach Brent Baker following Saturday’s game. “But I just know there’s a motor in that guy.”
Masters rebounded in a big way on Saturday, putting up 34 points in UNB’s 88-72 win and getting the Reds’ Atlantic University Sport regular season off to a 2-0 start.
“In this league you’re going to take all the wins you can get. You have to take them – I don’t care if they’re ugly or whatever,” said Baker.
In Friday’s game, Will McFee got the Reds off to a great start, draining two straight three-point shots, followed by another three-pointer from Dylan Baker to make it 9-0. UNB continued to make shots throughout the first quarter and led 25-13.
In the second quarter, Acadia tried to inch closer to UNB but trailed by 10, 42-32, at halftime.
In the third, the Axemen got within three at one point but then Masters began to heat up. He, McFee and Jordan Irvine went on to guide the Reds to an 83-76 victory.
McFee was named the player of the game with 21 points in 35 minutes of play.
On Saturday, the teams went back and forth in the first quarter with UNB leading 24-21 at the buzzer. The Axemen started to pull away a bit in the second though, led by Shaquille Smith and Rhys Larry. Acadia was up 47-42 at halftime.
The Reds climbed back in the second half and led by nine heading into the fourth. The Axemen kept it close in the final quarter, getting within one with 4:39 left. But a big run by UNB down the stretch gave the home side an 88-72 victory.
“We tried to make a few adjustments on offense and things like that and to be quite honest I think the big wake up call was Will taking a really bad foul in the second half,” said Baker about Saturday’s game. “I think Javon kind of looked around and said ‘well, I better make a few plays.’ And that’s probably what really happened. I’m not going to take any credit as coach for any of that.”
Baker was also pleased with how his team was able to maintain their lead in the second half once they got in front.
“I thought our defense in the second half was the real key.”
The Varsity Reds travel to Saint Mary’s University this weekend to take on the Huskies on Friday and Saturday. The Huskies finished second in last year’s AUS regular season with a 14-6 record and went on to win the conference championship.
UNB returns to the Currie Center floor on Friday, Nov. 21 and Saturday, Nov. 22 when they host the StFX X-Men.