Halifax, NS – The Dalhousie Tigers won their second consecutive AUS championship banner with a 76-64 victory over the StFX X-Men in the championship game Sunday afternoon at Scotiabank Centre.
Lead by fourth year guard Alex Carson (Lower Sackville, NS) who scored 22 points and AUS most valuable player Kevan Veinot (Port Williams, NS) with 18, the Tigers played a consistent game to punch their ticket to next weekend's U SPORTS national championship in Ottawa.
The Tigers got out to a 7-0 start in the opening three minutes until Avan Nava (Mississauga, ON) finally got the X-Men on the board with a three-pointer.
Dalhousie went up 14-3 midway through the quarter.
StFX had a few costly turnovers which the Tigers capitalized on as they held a 24-16 advantage after the first quarter of play. Veinot scored eight points for DAL.
The three-ball kept the X-Men in the game as they were 4-for-9 from beyond the arc in the opening quarter including two from Thomas Legallais (Cornwall, ON) who lead the X-Men with six points.
The Tigers held onto their eight-point lead for the opening three minutes of the second quarter.
The X-Men closed the gap to 28-24 midway through the frame. It was then the Tigers turn to run into turnover trouble.
The X-Men took their first lead of the game at 32-31 with just under a minute to play in the second quarter off a pair of Azaro Roker (Nassau, Bahamas) free throws.
A Veinot jumper gave the Tigers a slight 33-32 edge at halftime. He scored 10 points in the first half while Sascha Kappos (Miami, FL) had 12.
AUS rookie of the year Nava netted 11 opening half points for the X-Men.
The third quarter featured end-to-end action as both team exchanged baskets and kept the game close throughout the opening five minutes. The Tigers were up by five points, 44-39, four minutes in.
The game remained close throughout the quarter though Dalhousie had a surge in the final minute of play. Carson drained a three with 30 seconds left to give his squad a 58-50 lead.
The quarter closed out 58-52 in favour of the Tigers.
Carson drained another long ball in the opening minute of the fourth quarter as the Tigers went up by nine points, 61-52.
As both sides struggled to score, the Tigers hung onto a 63-56 lead midway through the quarter as the X-Men battled to get back in the game, powered by their big-man Roker who was a force on both sides of the ball.
With three minutes to go the Tigers took a 70-59 lead as Veinot and Carson were strong for Dalhousie down the stretch.
Time ran out on the X-Men as Dalhousie held on for the 76-64 victory.
Veinot earned Subway player of the game honours as he had nine rebounds, eight assists and three assists to go along with his 18 points.
Nava finished with 18 points for the X-Men, while Justin Andrew (Hamilton, ON) netted 16, and Roker had a double-double game with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Both Roker and Nava were named to the tournament all-star team, along with Carson and Veinot of the Tigers and UNB Reds guard Marcus Masters.
Carson took home tournament most valuable player honours.
The title marked the eighth one in team history for Dalhousie as they now advance to represent the AUS conference at the U SPORTS championship March 12-15 in Ottawa.
Courtesy StFX Sports Information