Panthers stun Saint Mary's with 87-81 win

Panthers stun Saint Mary's with 87-81 win

HALIFAX, NS—The Saint Mary's Huskies and UPEI Panthers each share a 5-3 AUS regular-season record after the Huskies fell 87-81 to the Panthers on Saturday, Nov. 20 at the Homburg Centre, in a four-point game.  

The Huskies saw two key starters return to their lineup from injury, giving them more opportunities to stagger their starters. Jace Colley (East Preston, N.S. / Commerce) returned after missing his last two games to score 21 points, six boards and four assists. Dontae Mitchell (Toronto, O.N. / Arts) was also back in the Huskies starting lineup, having missed most of the regular season due to an injury in the first week. Mitchell was a key playmaker for the Huskies, sharing guard duties with AUS rookie of the year for 2017-18 Nikita Kasongo (Chateauguay, Q.C. / Criminology).  

A closely matched first quarter ended with the Huskies up 21-20. Colley paced the Huskies with six points, while Panthers point guard Elijah Miller (Rexdale, O.N.) led all scorers with 13 points. Rookie Jayrell Diggs (East Preston, N.S. / Commerce) continued his torrid shooting to begin his AUS career by hitting a corner three-pointer off the bench. The Huskies played aggressive defense in the first, grabbing six points off turnovers to the Panthers' zero.  

Qyemah Gibson (Eleuthera, B.H. / Commerce) matched Colley in the second quarter, each with six points. Diggs sank another loud three-pointer in the second and combined with Saint Mary's starters to score all 44 their first-half points. The Huskies shot 64 percent from the field in the second, above the Panther's 38 percent, and closed the first twenty minutes with a narrow three-point lead, 44-41.  

In a tense third quarter that saw the lead change hands five times, Panthers guard Dakelle Brooks knocked down a long three-pointer to seal their lead with two minutes remaining. Brooks paced both sides in the third with eight points and three rebounds, playing the whole 10 minutes.  

Gibson was tireless for Saint Mary's with six points and three rebounds for his side, clearing boards on both ends and coming up with timely baskets all game. The Panthers shot 71 percent from behind the arc in the third to eke out a 68-60 lead heading into the fourth, shooting 55 percent from the field to the Huskies 31 percent. 

An extended ten-point lead for the Panthers within the first two minutes of the fourth was cut down by a floating layup from Huskie's guard Shae Linton-Brown (Vaughan, ON/Arts), and an effortless three-pointer from Gibson with seven minutes remaining. A clutch three-pointer from Brown triggered a Panthers timeout, as the Huskies starting lineup put together an 8-0 run to drop the UPEI lead to 70-68. 

With under five minutes left, Colley finishes an alley-oop to drop the lead to one point, and again to one with a layup at two minutes remaining. A 7-2 Panthers run down the stretch, with a showstopping dunk from Colley in the final two seconds, ended the game 87-81 for UPEI. With the Huskies in foul trouble in the final quarter, the Panther's scored from the free-throw line six times to the Huskies' zero.  

The Subway player of the game was the 2019-20 AUS all-rookie team's Elijah Miller who notched 23 points, six rebounds and five assists. Miller is top ten in scoring for both points-per-game and overall for this AUS season.  

Panthers' starting guard Isaiah Ankra (North York, ON) demonstrated excellent ball control all game, netting eight points, eight rebounds, three assists and four steals. Dakelle Brooks grabbed 21 points, nine rebounds and two assists, and the Panther's bench grabbed 18 points and two rebounds. Both teams shot above 85 percent from the free throw line all game. 

The Huskies were led by Gibson with 22 points, five rebounds, two assists and four blocks. Colley finished with 21 points, six rebounds and four assists. Colley, Gibson and Kasongo all sit top-ten in AUS scorers per game, and overall, for the season. Linton-Brown, Gibson, Kasongo and Colley all rank top-ten in rebounds per game in AUS. Diggs sits first in the AUS for three-point percentage, at 52.6 percent. 

 

The Panthers will face St. FX X-Men (4-4 AUS) in Antigonish in another 4-point game on Saturday November 27th. Tip-off is set for 8 pm.

Recap: Lauren Phillips / SMU Athletics

Photos: SMU Athletics