Double-doubles by Miller and Jerome fuel Panthers to win

Double-doubles by Miller and Jerome fuel Panthers to win

By Thomas Becker

Elijah Miller and Jamesley Jerome each recorded a double-double to lead the UPEI Panthers to an 83-70 win over the Cape Breton Capers.

Miller poured in 30 points on 11-of-21 shooting, grabbed 10 rebounds, handed out five assists and added two steals, while Jerome finished with 17 points and 11 boards. Jack MacAulay also reached double figures with 12 points. 

After battling back from a 14-point deficit early in the second quarter, the Panthers (2-5) locked down defensively in the second half and held the Capers to 8-of-31 shooting, while outscoring them 46-28.

"Coach keeps preaching to stay locked in and ride the waves. If we get down, just stay levelheaded and keep working," said Miller, who was named the Subway Player of the Game.

With four points at stake, head coach Darrell Glenn knew his team needed this win to better position themselves for a playoff push in the New Year. 

"The losses last week to Dalhousie could have been demoralizing, but this hasn't been the makeup of this group," Glenn said. "I'm really pleased and it takes a little pressure off moving into the holidays." 

Miller began his tear early and scored 10 points in the opening quarter, while MacAulay chipped in with seven. But the Capers (3-4) countered with a potent duo themselves, as Osman Omar drilled three triples for nine points, with Paul Watson adding five, as the two teams went into the second tied at 24 apiece. 

Cape Breton found their three-point stroke again in the quarter and opened up a 38-24 advantage following a deep ball by Chris Hankins and two more from Watson. UPEI, meanwhile, was held without a point for more than five minutes, allowing the Capers to go on an extended 14-0 run.

Down 12 with four minutes remaining in the half, the Panthers rallied for seven straight points on baskets by Samuel Campbell, MacAulay and Jerome and went into the half down 42-37.  

After the game, Glenn applauded his team's resilience to fight back in the second quarter instead of giving in.

"These guys just don't pack it in. We stay together, we fight, we rebound and we scrap."

That momentum carried over into the third where the home team began their takeover. Defensively, they held the Capers to just 15 points on 26.7 per cent shooting. Omar scored 10 of his team-high 25 points in the frame to keep his team afloat, while the Panthers used a balance approach and put up 27 points on 50 per cent shooting. 

After trading baskets for most of the third, the Panthers closed the quarter on a 9-2 run that included three straight layups for the 64-57 advantage.

UPEI continued to shutdown their opponent in the fourth, where they shot 25 per cent from the field and scored just 13 points. Miller almost matched that production with 10 himself, while Jerome added five to help close out the 83-70 win.

The Panthers return to the court on Jan. 4 when they take on the Acadia Axemen. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.