UPEI basketball teams sweep crucial four-point games vs. UNB

UPEI basketball teams sweep crucial four-point games vs. UNB


Thomas Becker
Specifically for the SaltWire network

CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI – In the end, it came down to free throws.

UPEI’s Elijah Miller, two points down with four seconds to go, advanced to a three-point shot and was fouled on the try. The third-year floor general stepped up to the line and hit quietly on all three free throws to give his team a 49-48 lead.

In the following game, UNB’s Norm Burry struggled for an offensive rebound and was also fouled while coming down with the ball. With the chance of a tie or winning the game, the Panther crowd did everything to unnerve Burry, who ended up missing both free throws, as UPEI (10-4) claimed the hard-fought victory.

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Miller finished the tournament with a team-high 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Kamari Scott struggled from the field but still recorded a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Marcus Barnes led the Reds (5-10) with 20 points and seven rebounds while Burry had 10 points and 12 rebounds.

After the game, Miller spoke about his take on the three biggest free throws of his UPEI career to date.

“Knowing how big the game was, I had to have the mental toughness to go out there and knock them down,” he said. “I just trusted my routine, caught my breath and relaxed.”

As for the win, Miller said it was big, especially with the end of the final game between the two teams – a Hail Mary three-pointer for the Reds that sent the game into overtime where they later won.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “We lost four points on their pitch that were stolen from us and we wanted to get those points back.”

The Panthers managed to get those four points on January 26, but the game wasn’t pretty. Each team shot less than 30 percent from the field and collectively scored 97 points.

After the game, Panthers head coach Darrell Glenn praised his team’s defensive strength.

“I thought we played great defensively even when our shots didn’t come off,” said Glenn. “Getting out of a game like that and saying you’ve won is a huge momentum booster.”

Aiden Rainford of the UPEI Panthers hits the net in Thursday’s 73-64 win over UNB at an Atlantic University Sports women’s basketball conference at the Chi-Wan Young Sports Center. The win put the Panthers in a three-way tie for first place. – Janessa Hogan/UPEI Athletics Women

With the AUS Women’s Conference so focused, capitalizing on the four-point games is imperative, and that’s exactly what the Panthers (9-4) did on Jan. 26

Led by the Rainford sisters, the Panthers – who started the game in fourth place – defeated the UNB Reds 73-64 to move into a three-way tie for first place.

Lauren Rainford finished the tournament with a team-high 18 points, plus three assists, three steals and two blocks. Aiden Rainford contributed 15 points and eight rebounds. Sharpshooter Alicia Bowering had another efficient night as she finished with 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc. Karla Yepez also hit double digits with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Jayda Veinot led the Reds (9-6) with 21 points and 11 rebounds while Erin Ingalls was in double figures with 11 points and five rebounds.

It was an important day for Yepez as the Panthers hosted their annual Shoot for the Cure night – a U Sports women’s basketball breast cancer fundraiser – to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society.

“I lost my grandmother to breast cancer, so it’s definitely a special night,” said Yepez, who dedicated the win to her grandmother. “The girls put a lot of effort into organizing everything and raising money for this great cause.”

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