By Thomas Becker
Since training camp, Panthers head coach Darrell Glenn has been preaching to his team that in order to be successful, they have to play by committee.
In their home opener Saturday night, Glenn's team did exactly that, as five players reached double figures in a 94-82 win over the Memorial Sea-Hawks. By comparison, the Sea-Hawks had a total of six players who scored, two of whom hit the 30-point mark.
"It's kind of what we talked about at the beginning of the year. We have to do it by committee," Glenn said. "We're not necessarily going to have a guy who scores 20-plus for us, that's just not going to be our situation."
The varied attack seemed to stifle Memorial defensively, as they quickly realized the Panthers possess threats all over the court. Amin Suleman, in particular, flourished in his new role as a two-guard looking for his shot.
"Right before the game, me and Rami [Arabi] were shooting and he just told me to use your elbow and wrist and if you do that, you're going to hit every shot," Suleman said.
It seemed to work, as the fourth-year guard finished with a team-high 19 points on an efficient 6-of-8 shooting (5-of-6 from three).
The Panthers came out on a tear and opened the game shooting 6-11, including a Jack MacAulay three-pointer from just inside half court, as they jumped to an 18-8 advantage.
Memorial closed the quarter strong and cut into the lead 26-22, thanks in large part to Nathan Barker who scored 12 of his 30 points in the frame. UPEI, meanwhile, used a balance attack as eight players hit the score sheet.
The Panthers continued to carve up their opponent, attacking from inside and out to push their lead back up to 10, 38-28 before taking a 51-38 lead at halftime.
The two teams traded baskets for most of the third before the Sea-Hawks went on a bit of roll, trimming the deficit 63-57 late in the quarter. But two big threes and an old fashioned three-point effort by Dakelle Brooks restored UPEI's 13-point advantage, as they carried a 72-59 lead into the fourth. Brooks finished with 15 points.
Glenn said that's one area he wants to clean up moving forward – not allowing teams to get back into games.
"We get up and then we allow the other team back in. It's a little bit disappointing, but we're a young group and that's part of what you go through."
Besides that little blip, UPEI controlled most of the game and at times appeared to have surprised the Sea-Hawks, who couldn't find an answer for an unexpectedly deep Panther offence.
"I think we're really talented at the guard spot. With our guards penetrating the ball so well, it gives our bigs a chance to open up and shoot, too," Suleman said. "As coach said, we don't have a guy who can go for 25 every night, but everyone plays for each other and that's how we're going to win games."
Led by Jerome's 15 points and Moshe Wadley's 10, the Panthers' bench outscored Memorial's 38-6 in the 94-82 effort. Ring had a game-high 31 points and nine rebounds for the Sea-Hawks.
The Panthers will look to make it a weekend sweep when they battle the Sea-Hawks once more on Nov. 4 at 3 p.m.
Photo Credit: Janessa Hogan