HALIFAX – The Saint John Riptide fell to 0-2 to start the National Basketball League of Canada season, falling 96-88 to the Halifax Hurricanes Thursday night.
Chris Early led the Riptide with 20 points on 8-15 shooting while Kemy Osse added 16, going 6-12 from the field. Robinson Odoch was the leading scorer for the ‘Canes with 16 points. Former Riptide all-star Gabe Freeman scored 15 points in his Halifax debut, including a dagger three-pointer with a minute to go.
Turnovers hurt Saint John all night. Saint John gave the ball back to Halifax 21 times, leading to 28 points. The ‘Canes turned it over 11 times, which Saint John converted into 21 points.
Halifax, which improved to 1-2 following two lopsided loses to the Moncton Magic, held a nine-point lead heading into the final stanza – 78-69. The ‘Canes used an 11-2 run to start the quarter and a 13-3 run to finish it to put some space between them and Saint John.
The Riptide led 45-42 at half led by Early with 10 points. The ‘Tide got off to a fast start, opening the game on a 10-0 run. However, six Saint John turnovers allowed the ‘Canes to chip away and tie the game at 21 apiece after quarter one.
The Riptide open their home schedule Sunday when they face Halifax in a rematch of Thursday’s contest. Game time is 2 p.m. at Harbour Station.
On Wednesday, Saint John are at home against the Kitchener-Waterloo Titans in a 7 p.m. start. The following night, they’ll face defending NBL of Canada champions, the London Lightning, at Harbour Station. Tip off is 7 p.m..