(HALIFAX, NS)—The Saint Mary's Huskies defeated the UPEI Panthers 82-71 on Friday night in their 2017-18 Atlantic University Sport men's basketball home opener from the Homburg Centre.
Nikita Kasongo (Montreal, QC) made his Saint Mary's debut and did not disappoint the Huskies home side, leading all scorers with a game-high 26 points in 38 minutes of action.
Kasongo added nine rebounds and went 7-14 from the floor and 3-6 from three-point land in the win for the Huskies, who improve to 1-0 on the year while UPEI fall to 0-1.
Saint Mary's jumped out to a quick lead after 10 minutes, building a 23-16 cushion while making 60% of their shots in the first quarter.
UPEI tightened up their defence in the second quarter, holding SMU to16 points while scoring 15 and SMU led by 12 points at the half, 39-27.
The Panthers used a 23-19 third quarter score to cut into the Huskies lead at 58-50 after thirty minutes.
Saint Mary's closed out the final 10 minutes with a 24-21 fourth quarter score and held on for the 82-71 victory.
Bryce Corless (Quispamsis, NB) finished with a game-high 16 points for UPEI while Stefan Vujisic (Kragujevac, Serbia) had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Milorad Sedlarevic (Jesenice, Slovenia) added 13 points for the Panthers.
The Huskies outscored the Panthers 44-32 in the paint and points off turnovers were 23 for SMU and 12 for the Panthers.
UPEI had twenty more bench points (34-14) and three more points off second chance points (15-12).
UPEI shot 40.9% from the floor (27-66) and 28.6% from three-point land (8-28) while SMU went 42.6% from the floor (29-68) and 22.7% from three-point land (5-22).
Both teams return to action Saturday November 4th versus each other at the Homburg Centre with tip-off set for 8 pm.
Dominic Nolasco, SMU Communications
Photo Nick Pearce