A first-place showdown in the Atlantic Division of the National Basketball League of Canada quickly turned into a lopsided affair as the Moncton Miracles cruised to a 102-83 victory.
“We got beat up and down the floor,'' Storm head coach Joe Salerno told the Moncton Times-Transcript after the game. “We got outplayed, we got outhustled and we got out-executed.
“We couldn't throw the ball in the ocean from P.E.I. tonight (Tuesday). We couldn't make a shot. You can't play like that against good teams.
“That was our worst game of the season, no question about it. We couldn't make a layup. We couldn't make an open jump shot. This is the tail end of six games in 10 days for us, with five of those being on the road.
“But that's no excuse. We played very poorly and it's not acceptable.''
The 83 points scored is the lowest total ever by a Storm team. The previous low was 86 in Windsor on Nov. 16, 2012. The 19-point loss is the third greatest in the Storm’s two-year history, behind a 22-point deficit against London on March 4, 2012, and a 21-point loss versus Saint John on Nov. 30, 2011.
The win improved Moncton’s record to 7-4 (won-lost) while the Storm fell to 5-5.
After winning both pre-season games and starting the regular season 4-0 (won-lost), the Storm has lost five of their last six games, with all five losses coming away from home.
The Storm has been faced with a demanding schedule the last 2 1/2 weeks as seven of their last eight games have been on the road after starting the regular season with back-to-back home matches.
Never looked back
Before 1,442 fans at the Moncton Coliseum, the Miracles jumped out to an early 8-2 advantage, led 24-15 after the first quarter and never looked back en route to evening the season series against the Storm at two wins apiece. Moncton took a seven-point advantage, 44-37, into halftime.
“We got beat up and down the floor. We got outplayed, we got outhustled and we got out-executed. We couldn't throw the ball in the ocean from P.E.I. tonight (Tuesday). We couldn't make a shot. You can't play like that against good teams. That was our worst game of the season, no question about it. We couldn't make a layup. We couldn't make an open jump shot. This is the tail end of six games in 10 days for us, with five of those being on the road. But that's no excuse. We played very poorly and it's not acceptable.'' - Storm head coach Joe Salerno
The Miracles took a 67-59 cushion into the fourth quarter, when they outscored the Storm 35-24.
Devin Sweetney scored a game-high 20 points to lead the Miracles, who received 17 points from Tyrone Levett and 15 from Darrell Wonge.
Avery Smith was the Storm’s top scorer with 17 points. Greg Plummer chipped in with 13 and four other players – Al Stewart, Willy Manigat, Louis Birdsong and Brandon Hassell – were the next top scorers with eight apiece.
The Miracles shot 37-for-82 from the field and went 7-for-22 from three-point range. The Storm, meanwhile, shot 30-for-98 and had a 5-for-22 summary from downtown. Rebound-wise, Moncton held a 63-59 advantage.
The Storm’s 30.6-field-goal-shooting percentage was the second-lowest in team history, behind the 29.8 per cent against Moncton on Jan. 23, 2012.
Next home game
The Storm will look to get back on the winning track on Friday as they begin a four-game homestand at Eastlink Arena against the expansion Windsor Express at 7 p.m. The Miracles pay a return visit to Summerside for a rare Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.
The Storm will honour former UPEI Panther and All-Canadian Peter Gordon during Friday’s game. Also on Friday night, the Journal Pioneer’s $25,000 shoot-to-win will take place.