The Memorial men’s Sea-Hawks basketball team are no strangers to putting up points, be it home or away. However, visiting the UNB Varsity Reds and Atlantic University Sport (AUS) conference scoring leader Javon Masters, the Sea-Hawks got a taste of their own medicine, and were unable to cool the heels of one of the best shooting front courts in the conference. MUN lost both games against UNB 90-108 and 79-110.
When Memorial talisman Vasilije Curcic goes to work, sometimes it’s better to just stay out of his way. Curcic, recently named in the Top 50 players nationwide by North Pole Hoops, was on fire again in the Saturday game, giving the opposition “the usual”—a healthy helping of 30 points to go with ten boards. Front court partner Caleb Gould made the most of limited time, going 5-7 for 13, while Daniel Gordon acted as the cavalry off the bench, showing off his range and going for 19. Unfortunately, Masters and partner in crime Matt Daley were even better on this day, with Masters dropping a game high 34 points and getting to the line 11 times. Daley did his part with a 23-8-7 line, as bench support was not required with the starters taking care of business. Davion Parnsalu, recent MUN player of the week with an incredible 36 point OT performance, wore the collar in the loss. Parnsalu was ice cold, going 0-8 from the floor with just two points to his name.
On Sunday, Curcic and Gould were again the focal points of the Memorial offence, going for 21 and 20 respectively. Unfortunately for MUN’s “Monsters of the Middle,” there was no scoring help forthcoming. UNB did not fare much better in terms of getting assistance from their bench (save Tyronn King’s 14), but again, Masters and his sidekick, this time taking the form of Jesse Kendall, were just better. Memorial simply had no answer for Masters, who collected 35 points and eight boards and was rarely troubled by the Memorial defensive scheme. Parnsalu, whose confidence looked shaken from yesterday’s poor performance, put up just four points on 2-9 shooting. Jovan Babovic was the next highest scoring Sea-Hawk, coming off the bench with eight.
Memorial (5-9) did not get the results they were hoping for on their road trip, as UNB (8-6) put further daylight between themselves and the red and white. Despite MVP-calibre performances from Masters, AUS leaders Dalhousie (10-4) remain the only AUS team nationally ranked. However, if Masters keeps up his world beating form, the Varsity Reds will be one team no one wants to come up against in the post-season.
The pair of losses highlight some troubling trends for the Sea-Hawks, who have won just one game on the road all year (an overtime thriller at St. Mary’s). As well, the Sea-Hawks have just a 1-8 record when scoring 90 points or fewer this season. The losses, particularly the 110-79 blowout, will doubtless dampen Sea-Hawk spirits, and Coach Benoite will need to find a solution in getting his role players to supplement the reliable play of Curcic and Gould. Only time will tell if that answer can be found this season and buoy a deep playoff run.
The Sea-Hawks return to the comforts of home court for another exciting pair against the Dalhousie Tigers at the Field House February 6/7. The games get underway at 8:00 PM and 1:00 PM respectively.