Riptide drop tight one at home to Cape Breton
SAINT JOHN – A furious comeback came up short as the Saint John Riptide lost 97-94 to the Cape Breton Highlanders Saturday night at Harbour Station.
Trailing by 12 with three minutes to play, the Riptide were within three when a Kemy Osse three-point attempt fell short at the buzzer.
It was a game in which the ‘Tide led by as many as 19 points in the first half, only to see the margin evaporate in the third quarter.
“I think our energy was real high in the first half. Everybody was involved and the morale was high,” Riptide guard Marvin Binney said post-game. “Everyone was on the same page, and we came out and punched them first.
“In the third quarter, our energy died down a little and their energy picked up. I think that was the difference in the game.”
Jeremiah Mordi, Brent Arrington and Chris Early each scored 16 for Saint John while Randy Phillips added 15 to go along with four steals.
Cape Breton was led by Jamal Reynolds with 18 points. Former Riptide guard Aaron Redpath added 16.
With the win, Cape Breton improves to 9-4 on the National Basketball League of Canada season while Saint John drops to 3-8.
The Highlanders took a seven-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, prompting a ‘Tide time out by head coach Nelson Terroba. With three minutes left, the lead had grown to 12 triggering another time out that helped the Riptide get as close as one point..
The Highlanders opened the third quarter on a 7-0 run, slicing the Riptide’s first-half bulge in half after 90 seconds. They tied it 69-69 with 47 second left, outscoring Saint John 32-18 in the period.
“The third quarter, for the year, has been our Achilles heel, so I think we need to find a way to get ourselves going to start the second half, and that’s when we’ll really start to win games,” said Binney, in his second season with Saint John.
The Riptide went into the second half with a 51-37 lead thanks to a stifling defence. The ‘Tide turned the Highlanders over 11 times in the first half, leading to 11 points. Saint John coughed the ball up five times, resulting in a single Cape Breton bucket.
The Riptide led 30-20 after one quarter on the strength of three straight steals midway through the period.
Saint John shot 47 per cent (36-77) from the field for the game, hitting 9-29 three-pointers. Cape Breton connected on 48 per cent of its attempts (36-75), including 11-31 from behind the arc.
The Riptide’s next home game is Wednesday when they take on the Halifax Hurricanes at 7 p.m. at Harbour Station. The following night, the St. John’s Edge, featuring former Boston Celtics forward Glen (Big Baby) Davis, will be in Saint John for a 7 p.m. tip off. Jan. 6, the teams will be at it again. Game time is 2 p.m. at Harbour Station.