(HALIFAX, N.S.) It came down to the final seconds, but the Dalhousie Tigers (1st seed) are headed back to the finals after an 87-85 win over the Memorial Sea-Hawks (5th seed).
Subway Player of the Game Keevan Veinot (Port Williams, N.S.) hit a three-pointer with 0:49 seconds left to play to give the Tigers its first lead of the second half, ensuring the reigning AUS champions will have a chance to make it three in a row on Sunday.
The Sea-Hawks put on a clinic from beyond the arc in the first quarter, making five-of-six three-point attempts, with each bucket scored by a different player. MUN led 28-20 after 10 minutes.
Nicholas Tuff (St. John's, Nfld.) was perfect in the first half with 11 points, going four-for-four from the field, made both his three-point attempts, made his free-throw and had two rebounds.
Memorial was ahead 45-37 after half, with first team all-star Cole Long (St. John's, Nfld.) putting 11 points on the board. Long finished with 27 points, including five three-point shots and was the Subway player of the game for the Sea-Hawks.
Tigers rookie Alex Ruiz (Valencia, Spain) had the most rebounds in the first half with four, along with six points.
Dalhousie slowly chipped away at the Memorial lead to start the second half, helped by a layup from second team all-star Shamar Burrows (Nassau, Bahamas). But the Sea-Hawks were able to keep the Tigers from gaining too much momentum.
A nine-point run by MUN late in the third quarter, helped the Sea-Hawks jump out to a double-digit lead. The score was 72-62 in favour of MUN going into the final quarter.
Nicholas Tuff (St. John's, Nfld.) consistently found the net for the Sea-Hawks as they held the league and the third-year player had 15 points and three rebounds in the game.
Sustained pressure from the Tigers made it a three-point game early in the fourth quarter with first team all-stars Keevan Veinot and Alex Carson (Lower Sackville, N.S) combining for nine points. Veinot finished with 27 points while Carson had 19 on the afternoon.
A pair of dunks for the Sea-Hawks by Boris Ristanovic (Kragujevac, Serbia) slowed down Dalhousie's surge in an energetic final few minutes of the half.
Burrows came up again for the Tigers with two baskets. He then had a steal near center court, leading to a successful layup from all-rookie team member Ngala Nginyu (Montreal, Que.).
Dalhousie is off to the final on Sunday, March 20 at 4 p.m and will play the winner of the semifinal between STFX (2nd) and UPEI (3rd). Get tickets to tomorrow's final via Ticket Atlantic, or watch on AUStv.ca.