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Irish eyes smile on Riptide in win over St. John’s

ST. JOHN’S N.L. –  In a battle of two of Canada’s most Irish cities, the Saint John Riptide prevailed, downing the St. John’s Edge 96-87 in National Basketball League of Canada St. Patrick’s Day action.

The Riptide landed on The Rock over the weekend and rolled to a two-game sweep of the Edge, including an 84-82 nailbiter Friday night at the Mile One Centre.

Frank Bartley equalled his offensive output from Friday’s opener, pouring in 29 points on Sunday to lead Saint John, which improved to 16-21. Bartley, the Riptide’s leading scorer at 19.8 per game, added eight assists.

Bryce Washington scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the ‘Tide. Marvin Binney chipped in with 13, none bigger than a three-pointer with the shot clock winding down and 45 seconds left in the game. Binney’s triple extended the Riptide’s lead to seven points. Twenty-five seconds later, he stroked two free-throw attempts to seal the deal.

Brent Arrington tagged on 11 points.

Desmond Lee scored 24 to lead the Edge, which fell to 21-19. Jared Nickens added 16.

According to immigroup.com, 35 per cent of Saint John’s population is of Irish descent while 30 per cent of St. John’s population has ties to the Emerald Isle.

However, the luck of the Irish was definitely not with former Boston Celtic forward Glen (Big Baby) Davis. The Edge big man was tossed from the game 13 seconds into the fourth quarter after picking up a pair of technical fouls for arguing a non-call on a shot attempt.

The Riptide held a 67-57 margin after three quarters. They led 51-38 at the half and 22-21 after one quarter.

Saint John played its second consecutive game without second-leading scorer T.J. Maston (19.3 ppg) and sixth man Kemy Osse (9.5 ppg).

Maston is expected back in the lineup for Thursday’s home game versus the Island Storm while Osse is listed as day-to-day.

Sunday’s victory puts the Riptide in position to clinch a playoff berth with a homecourt win Thursday versus the Storm. Game time is 7 p.m. at Harbour Station.

The Storm, 10-23, downed the Windsor Express 137-118 in Charlottetown on Sunday to keep their playoff hopes alive.

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