UNB 107, UPEI 92… 6’5″ Donnavan Hastings, one of three reserves thrust into the starting lineup due to injury, had 20 of his game-and-career-high 31 points in the first half as the Varsity Reds pushed back into second place in the AUS with a comfortable win in Charlottetown, gaining a split in the two-game set and putting the Panthers on the brink of missing the AUS tournament. Hastings, who has been a reliable wing coming off the bench, was added to the starting lineup with the absence of 6’0″ Javon Masters, 6’5″ Jamaal Potopsingh and 6’2″ Jesse Kendall and he was the focus offensively from the start. Almost as importantly, 6’4″ Dylan Baker, an active athlete from Australia, started and did a magnificent job shadowing Panthers star 6’2″ guard Tyler Scott who did finish with 20 points but on just 5 for 15 shooting from the floor. Baker, who averages 16 minutes per game, played 34 minutes and had 7 points, 5 rebounds and 9 assists. Another little used guard, 6’2″ Kaleefah Henry, was steady with 15 points and 6 boards after coming into the game averaging just 4 ppg. Reds played long stretches of the game with reserves and Panthers could get no closer than 8 points with 2 minutes left in the third, allowing UNB to shoot a blistering 54% from the floor. 6’2″ Hess Mayele had another steady game for the Reds with 19 points as UNB now sits in second place with 30 points, entering a stretch of 3 of their next 4 games against St. FX. UPEI, which now must win all five of their remaining games and hope either Acadia loses at least 4 of their final 5 or Memorial loses all of their remaining 4 games, also got 17 points and 8 rebounds from 6’8″ Dut Dut in what was another porous defensive effort. Panthers need to sweep Memorial next weekend at St. John’s or UPEI will likely be officially eliminated from playoff contention.
Next action in the AUS is Tuesday in Antigonish when Dalhousie faces St. FX in a four-point game that again could reshuffle the top of the AUS standings.
Dalhousie 12-4, 32 points, 12 points remaining
UNB 10-6, 30 points, 10 points remaining
Saint Mary’s 10-6, 28 points, 8 points remaining
St. FX 8-6, 26 points, 16 points remaining
Memorial 9-7, 24 points, 12 points remaining
Acadia 8-7, 22 points, 16 points remaining
UPEI 5-10, 12 points, 14 points remaining
Cape Breton 0-16, 0 points, 12 points remaining