Men's hoopsters hit the road for battle of island schools

John
John Browne
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MUN VARSITY SPORTS

After a hot and cold performance in the friendly atmosphere of the Field House, the rejuvenated Memorial Sea-Hawks are in Charlottetown, P.E.I., this weekend for the team's first road games of the 2008-09 Atlantic universities men's basketball season.

The Sea-Hawks (1-1) play the first of a pair of games tonight against the UPEI Panthers. The Sea-Hawks are coming off a split at home last weekend against the Dalhousie Tigers, while UPEI lost its opening two games to the Cape Breton University Capers. Game 2 goes Sunday.

After a hot and cold performance in the friendly atmosphere of the Field House, the rejuvenated Memorial Sea-Hawks are in Charlottetown, P.E.I., this weekend for the team's first road games of the 2008-09 Atlantic universities men's basketball season.

The Sea-Hawks (1-1) play the first of a pair of games tonight against the UPEI Panthers. The Sea-Hawks are coming off a split at home last weekend against the Dalhousie Tigers, while UPEI lost its opening two games to the Cape Breton University Capers. Game 2 goes Sunday.

"I'm looking forward to the first weekend on the road to see how the guys respond," said MUN coach Peter Benoite after practice this week.

"Road trips add a different dimension to playing. You are dealing with the travel, up early in the morning and adapting to a new gym with new refs certainly adds its challenges."

The first-year MUN head coach said the Panthers like to shoot a lot of threes.

"They always have. If they get hot, it could be a long game for us," said Benoite.

"But if we can get pressure on their shots, and take away rhythm jumpers, then we give ourselves a chance. It's critical for us to box out because they (Panthers) go after the boards hard. We did a decent job against Dal in terms of taking care of the boards, but will have to be tougher against P.E.I."

The young Sea-Hawks already know what it's like to face a team that tosses up treys in bunches after watching the Tigers throw up 23, sinking 11, in a 98-53 rout last Sunday after MUN had beaten the visitors 74-71 the night before.

P.E.I., Benoite said, has an athletic club that's been in the rebuilding stage for a number of years.

Expect Justin Penney, Mark Woodland, Jason Shepherd, Christian Somerton and George English to start tonight against the Panthers.

According to Benoite, it's been these five who have been performing consistently over the pre-season and to start the AUS campaign.

"As well," he added, "this lineup gives us the most experience on the floor."

That said, he also expects his bench to be able to step up and contribute when they get into the game.

"I feel we can go deeper than other teams and have committed to doing so to help the long term development of the team," Benoite said.

Woodland, Memorial's leading scorer at 12.5 points-per-game, is just outside the conference top 10 scoring. MUN's top rebounder is George English, 7.5 rpg.

Shepherd averaged 8.5 points per game, while Manny Wilby averaged 7.0 ppg. against the Panthers last season. UPEI won both regular season games between the teams lin 2007-08 (89-63 and 85-79).

MUN volleyball

Memorial Sea-Hawks women's volleyball team (1-7) will be looking to get back on track this weekend in Sydney, N.S.

The Lady Hawks are coming off a tough weekend in New Brunswick, where they were winless against the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds and University of Moncton Blue Eagles.

Memorial plays the Cape Breton University Capers (3-3) in back-to-back games today and Sunday.

Jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Sea-Hawks, Dalhousie Tigers, Cape Breton University Capers Field House Panthers University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds and University of Moncton Blue Eagles

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Dal, Sydney New Brunswick

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