By Thomas Becker
Heading into the weekend matchup, UPEI Panthers head coach Darrell Glenn sat his team down and said he expects them to go 2-0.
In a defensively charged effort, the Panthers came away with a sweep as they took down the Memorial Sea-Hawks 77-65.
"It feels better than being 0-2, that's for sure," quipped Glenn.
Rookie forward Jamesley Jerome scored six points and pulled down seven rebounds in the decisive fourth quarter. His hustle and ability to score second chance points was a huge factor in determining the outcome. He'd finish with a 14-point, 13-rebound double-double.
"I had a meeting with the coach earlier and he told me to get involved offensively and defensively," the Subway Player of the Game said. "I felt the team needed me to bring energy and that's what I tried to do."
The Panthers jumped out to a quick 6-0 start and were smothering their opponent on the defensive end. It took nearly four minutes before Memorial finally made a basket – an uncontested dunk off a turnover.
UPEI opened up a 15-5 advantage before Daniel Foo scored five straight for the Sea-Hawks. Led by their defence, UPEI carried a 16-11 advantage into the second by holding Memorial to an ice-cold 22 per cent shooting.
The Sea-Hawks found their rhythm in the second and capped off a 14-7 with an Emanuel Ring dunk and free throw, as they pulled ahead 25-23 midway through the frame. Both teams continued to go at each other defensively with Memorial coming away with a 32-29 halftime lead. Foo had 12 of his game-high 21 points to pace the Sea-Hawks, while Amin Suleman had seven of his ten for the home team.
"We gave up 32 points in the first half and that's kind of where we want to be. We just couldn't score," Glenn said.
After Memorial extended their lead 40-33 at the 6:40 mark, the Panthers used a strong 9-0 run that lasted two minutes to retake the lead 42-40. Jerome was key in that stretch, crashing the boards for back-to-back tip-ins. Dakelle Brooks helped his big man out with six in the quarter, as UPEI took a slim 50-49 edge into the fourth.
Back-to-back threes from Moshe Wadley and Suleman cushioned their lead 56-49 and gave them the offensive spark they needed to cross the finish line victorious. Jerome's versatility in the middle was unmatched, as he gathered seemingly every rebound, deposited a three-pointer and pleased the Panther faithful with a thunderous hammer.
"On our team, it's always about adjustments," Jerome said. "We're a transition team and we weren't pushing the ball very well. But once we adjusted we started to get easy baskets."
Not to be forgotten was fifth-year forward Milorad Sedlarevic, who poured in nine of his 14 points in the quarter. Sedlarevic and the rest of his teammates started to connect on their shots after they solved Memorial's defensive scheme, which involved switching from man to zone on multiple occasions.
"They really hurt us and really hurt the tempo we wanted to play at," Glenn said. "It took us awhile to get comfortable with how to beat that. But once we figured it out, I thought we were able to get some good looks."
The Panthers hit the road for two where they'll take on the Acadia Axemen. Game time is Nov. 9 at 8 p.m.
Photo Credit: Janessa Hogan