SAINT JOHN – After trailing by as many as 18 points in the fourth quarter, the Saint John Riptide cut the lead to three late but could get no closer, losing to the Halifax Hurricanes 91-86 at Harbour Station Sunday afternoon.
Head coach and general manager Nelson Torroba credited his team’s defence with keeping the game close. “We’ve got a bunch of very coachable players who are buying in and doing everything we ask of them,” Torroba said following the game.
“When you’re right in the game and you score 86 points, that tells you the players are playing good defence.”
For the second straight game Chris Early led the way for the ‘Tide with 17 points. Frank Bartley scored 16 and Brent Arrington added 14.
For Halifax, Kedar Edwards scored 16 and former Riptide forward Gabe Freeman deposited 14.
With their first home loss the Riptide fall to 0-3 on the National Basketball League of Canada season. Halifax improves to 2-2.
Halifax shot 47 per cent from the field but just 15 per cent from behind the three-point line.The Riptide connected on 38 per cent of their field goal attempts and 30 per cent of their tries from beyond the arc.
Trailing by 18 early in the fourth quarter, Saint John cut the lead in half with five minutes to plan after a Randy Phillips’ lay up made it 83-75. The deficit was sliced to three 90 seconds later following a steal and an Arrington dunk got the crowd of 1,598 roaring.
However, Saint John could get no closer.
The Hurricanes led 77-61 after three quarters and 49-43 at the half. Saint John trailed 26-19 after the first stanza.
Saint John is back in action at home on Wednesday against the Kitchener-Waterloo Titans in a 7 p.m. start. Thursday, they’ll face the defending NBL of Canada champions, the London Lightning, at Harbour Station. Tip off is 7 p.m.