HALIFAX, NS – The top two teams in the NBL Canada’s Atlantic Division squared off Thursday night at the Scotiabank Centre. Having yet to have a loss on their record, the Halifax Hurricanes welcomed the Saint John Riptide to town for what turned out to be the heavyweight battle that everyone expected.
Both sides came out firing on all cylinders in the first quarter but it was the hot shooting from three-point range of Haakim Johnson that stole the spotlight. Despite knocking down all four shots he took from beyond the arc, Johnson and the Riptide trailed the Hurricanes 31-27 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter Saint John flexed their muscles a bit in an effort to grab a lead. Their big guns would go to work, including Gabe Freeman who returned have a one-game absence to rehab an injury. Despite outshooting Halifax 25-24 in the frame, the Riptide went in the half down 55-52.
The Riptide would finally grab a sizeable lead in the third quarter as the Hurricanes shooters went cold. A nine point advantage in scoring over Halifax in quarter number three put the Riptide ahead 81-76 going in the fourth.
Everyone in the arena and those watching at home were biting their nails throughout the entire fourth quarter as the two squads went back and fourth. The Hurricanes got back into it with some timely scoring and knotted the game up 105-105 with just seven seconds remaining. A late drive by Anthony Anderson and a put back from Freeman didn’t beat the buzzer, which meant we were headed for overtime.
The streak would end at nine games for the Hurricanes as they suffered their first loss of the season to the Riptide being outdone 12-8 in the extra frame. A final score of 117-113 dropped their record to 9-1 while the Riptide improve to 9-3.
Haakim Johnson lead the way with 27 points and eight rebounds while Anthony Anderson finished with 25 and Gabe Freeman had 22. Antoine Mason was the top scorer for Halifax with 19 points.