Riptide play league-leaders close on the road
MONCTON – The Saint John Riptide couldn’t overcome a nearly seven-minute fourth-quarter scoring drought, losing 93-86 to the Moncton Magic at the Avenir Centre Sunday afternoon.
Holding a 79-77 lead four minutes into the final frame, Saint John didn’t score again until there was 1:16 to go.
Brent Arrington contributed 15 points to top Saint John while Chris Early and Frank Bartley each had 14. Jeremiah Mordi added 12.
For Moncton, it was a pair of players who used to call Saint John home – Corey Allmond and Doug Herring Jr., – leading the way.
Allmond scored a game-high 22 points while Herring Jr., recorded his second straight double-double, registering 18 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
With the win, Moncton improves to a National Basketball League of Canada best 10-0 while Saint John drops to 2-6.
Moncton led 73-65 after three quarters, pouring in 36 points to open the second half after scoring just 37 in the first.
The Magic used a 23-12 run in the first seven minutes of the third quarter to assume control.
Saint John led 44-37 at the half, after ending the second quarter on a 7-0 run punctuated by a Walter Pitchford three-pointer with 1.6 seconds left. The Riptide led by as many as 10 in the quarter, playing stifling defence that forced the Hub City hoopsters into tough shots and turnovers.
Moncton never led in the half, although it did managed to tie the game at 37 apiece before Saint John ended the quarter strong.
The Riptide led after one quarter, 23-19, using a hot start that saw them lead by as many as eight points in the opening frame.
For the game, Moncton shot 46 per cent from the field and connected on 10-29 three-point attempts.
Saint John hit on 40 per cent on its field goal attempts, cashing in on 8-32 tries from beyond the arc.
Saint John will play its fourth straight road game next Sunday when it heads to Cape Breton to take on the Highlanders. The roadswing ends Boxing Day in Charlottetown against the Island Storm.
The next night they’ll return to Harbour Station to face the Halifax Hurricanes in a 7 p.m. start.