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Bartley leads Riptide to first home win of the season

Bartley leads Riptide to first home win of the season

SAINT JOHN –  A strong second-half offensive performance by guard Frank Bartley helped lead the Saint John Riptide to their first home win of the season, a  91-88 victory over the Halifax Hurricanes Thursday night at Harbour Station.

Bartley scored 17 of his team-high 19 points in the second half to help Saint John improve to 3-7 on the National Basketball League of Canada 2018-19 campaign.

“I was really concentrating a lot on defence in the first half, guarding their point guard, which is a new assignment for me. I usually guard twos and threes,” said the first-year guard out of Baton Rouge, La. “The second half I was more aggressive and shots started falling.”

Back to back three-pointers by Bartley and forward Chris Early put Saint John up nine with 2:30 minutes to go, bringing a crowd of 1,897 to its feet.

However, a 7-0 run brought Halifax within a deuce with a minute to play. Free throws from Jeremiah Mordi and Brent Arrington down the stretch helped seal the win for Saint John.

“It feels great,” head coach and general manager Nelson Terroba said moments after the game.

“Our guys work so hard and a couple of shots went our way tonight. Halifax is tough, play great defence and they’re well coached, so it’s a very good win.”

Early and Arrington each scored 18 for Saint John while Randy Phillips added 11, including a pair of slick lefty baby hooks late in the fourth quarter that helped the ‘Tide hold off Halifax. Early added nine rebounds while Arrington handed out five assists.

The ‘Canes were led by Jordan Washington with 25. Former Riptide forward Gabe Freeman had 18 points for Halifax, which dropped to 6-7.

Saint John was up 62-58 to start the final quarter. The ‘Tide led by as many as nine points midway through the third period but Halifax crawled back in from the free-throw line, scoring their last six points from the stripe.

The teams entered the second half with the game knotted at 40-40.

Both shot under 40 per cent for the first half with Saint John connecting on 39 per cent of its attempts, including 3-11 from three-point land.

Halifax managed to hit on just 33 per cent of its field goal tries despite grabbing 14 offensive rebounds and outscoring Saint John 18-5 on second-chance opportunities. The ‘Canes sank one of their 11 shots from behind the arc.

Saint John trailed 21-18 after a first quarter that saw it get off to a quick 6-0 start on three consecutive forays to the rim. Centre Walter Pitchford made his presence felt in the opening stanza, picking up five points and three rebounds in his home debut for the ‘Tide.

For the game, Saint John shot 45 per cent from the field, hitting on 7-22 three-point attempts. The ‘Canes managed to score on 39 per cent of their tries, including 7-24 from behind the three-point line.

The Riptide’s next home game is Saturday when they tip it off at 7 p.m. against the 7-4 Cape Breton Highlanders at Harbour Station.

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