The UNB men’s basketball team was defeated 91-87 by the Dalhousie Tigers on Friday night in an important first-place matchup.
The Tigers just wouldn’t go away on a night where the V-Reds held two separate leads of 15 and 10.
“That’s four straight times we played this team and they’ve been able to come back from double digit deficits against us,” said Javon Masters who scored 19 of his 34 points in the second half. “We can’t be having defensive lapses like we did tonight again.”
UNB came out of the gates on fire from three-point range in this one, spotting themselves a 31-16 lead after the first quarter.
“This team they can shoot the basketball,” said Tigers head coach Rick Plato “I told the boys coming in, they’re the best shooting team in the league and one of the best shooting teams in the country.”
The fire, however, was extinguished in the second frame when Dalhousie outscored them by 13 flipping the script and cutting the UNB lead to two.
Masters hit a buzzer beating three-pointer at the half to give the Reds’ the temporary lead.
It was all Ritchie Kanza Mata in the second half however, as he scored all 24 of his points in the last two quarters and was named player of the game for the Tigers.
“We were down and our team needed a spark so I just looked to attack to get us going,” said Kanza Mata on his enormous second half.
The decision essentially came down to bad luck as two missed free throws and a crucial missed defensive rebound cost UNB a chance to win the game.
“We work a lot on our rebounding on our free throws, we take some pride in that,” said Plato on securing the offensive rebound that would have given the V-Reds a possession down by only two with 20 seconds left. “We did a good job and I’m proud of [my team].”
Kanza Mata then iced the game with a couple of made free throws.
UNB’s Jesse Kendall made it interesting with a deep made three pointer with 10 seconds left but the Reds just couldn’t keep the Tigers off the free throw line.
The Reds will get a shot at redemption Saturday night as they take on the Tigers for the second time in as many nights.
“We’re going to look at the film and try to do better tomorrow and try to get a win,” said Masters. “I can’t wait.”
The game will tip off at 8 p.m. at the Currie Center. You don’t want to miss this one folks.