After losing back-to-back games to end the first half, the UNB Varsity Reds got back on track this past weekend.
Playing their first Atlantic University Sport games of 2015, the V-Reds fell 95-92 to the Saint Mary’s Huskies on Friday at the Richard J. Currie Center but rebounded with a big 107-76 victory over SMU on Saturday afternoon.
“My biggest disappointment in [Friday’s] game was our lack in intensity and lack of effort to start the game,” said Varsity Reds head coach Brent Baker following Saturday’s match.
In Friday’s game, UNB led 17-16 at the end of the first quarter but trailed 40-39 at halftime thanks to a Marcus Clayton free throw. The score remained close in the third with UNB leading 61-60. The Varsity Reds led for much of the fourth quarter and were up by three with 58 seconds remaining. But a Clayton jump shot and a free throw from Achuil Lual sent the game into overtime tied at 81-81.
In overtime, the Huskies jumped out to a quick lead and were ahead by seven points with less than three minutes to go. But the Varsity Reds fought back and Javon Masters tied it up at 92-92 with 42 seconds remaining. That would be UNB’s final basket of the game though as the Huskies went on to win 95-92.
Masters was masterful in the game, posting a season high 37 points. Will McFee chipped in with 19 points and five rebounds. Clayton led the Huskies with 23 points.
It was different story on Saturday as Nikola Mandic registered 30 points and Masters 27 in a huge 107-76 win for UNB. The victory ended the Varsity Reds’ three-game losing skid.
Baker was impressed with several players on Saturday.
“Jordan Irvine, Nikola Mandic and Dylan Baker, who had all been M.I.A. for a bit, they showed up and played really, really well. They started to do the simple, fundamental things just to get themselves going again. Before, they were living and dying on three-point shots and you can’t play that way. They got back to some fundamentals and we got back to some defence. Our rebounding in the first half really set the tone so that was really a big win for us to get going again.”
After a back-and-forth first quarter, Saint Mary’s led 20-18 heading into the second. The Varsity Reds slowly started to pull away in the second by hitting some jump shots and free throws consistently. At halftime, UNB was up 43-35.
UNB really started rolling in the third as Masters and Baker threw down slams, electrifying the Currie Center crowd. The Reds led by 10 heading into the fourth and then put up 33 points in the final 10 minutes of the game to win 107-76.
The offensive output was just shy of UNB’s season high. The Reds had 108 points in a win at Saint Mary’s in November.
Up next for the Varsity Reds is a Saturday night matchup against the Dalhousie Tigers. Game time is 8 p.m. at the Currie Center.