(HALIFAX, N.S.) The defending men's champions started off the 2022 Subway AUS Men's Basketball Championship on the right note as the Dalhousie Tigers (1st seed) defeated the Acadia Axemen (8th seed) 86-69.
Fourth-year forward Eli Kraushar (Halifax, N.S.) opened the scoring for Acadia before Dalhousie's two first team all-stars, Alex Carson (Lower Sackville, N.S.) and Keevan Veinot (Port Williams, N.S.) put the Tigers on the board with four straight free-throws.
A slam dunk by Subway Player of the Game Keevan Veinot gave the hometown Halifax crowd a chance to cheer. Veinot finished with seven rebounds and 24 points while going six-for-six from the free throw line.
Kraushar responded shortly after with a big three-point shot, much to the delight of the Acadia fans in attendance. After a back-and-forth first quarter, the Tigers held a one-point lead, 15-14.
An early three-pointer for Dalhousie from Carson gave the Tigers a 20-15 lead in the first half.
Acadia turned it on at the end of the quarter with a late three-pointer from Axemen guard Ryan Munro (Timberlea, N.S.). Moments earlier, his teammate Jack Tilley (Rothesay, N.B.) also sank a three, part of a seven-point run for Acadia. Dalhousie finished the half ahead 34-31.
Alex Muise (Halifax, NS) made it a tied game with a three-pointer for Acadia to start the second half, but eight unanswered points by Dalhousie, including four from Samuel Wade (Wallace, N.S), were key in the Tigers establishing a lead. The Tigers outscored Acadia 27-17 in the third quarter.
A late push by the Axemen in the final quarter, including 10 points by third-year guard Muise, highlighted a tight fourth quarter, with Dalhousie narrowly had 25 points compared to 21 for Acadia.
AUS defensive player of the year Samuel Maillet (Moncton, N.B.) finished his night with a slam dunk as part of a one-rebound, seven-point night. Dalhousie's Nginyu Ngala (Montrael, Que.), a member of the 2021-22 all-rookie team, finished the game with 14 points.
Thomas MacDonald (Rothesay, N.B.) was the Subway Player of the Game for the Axemen thanks to a strong game on both sides of the ball, with seven rebounds and 13 points.
Acadia made 8 of 20 (40%) three-pointers compared to 6 of 21 (28.6%) for Dalhousie, but the Tigers were more efficient from the free-throw line, making 32 of 37 compared to 13 of 22 for the Axemen.
Dalhousie's next game is on Saturday, March 19 at 3 p.m. The Tigers play the winner of the Memorial vs. Saint Mary's quarter-final, which takes place on Friday, March 18 at 3 p.m.
Both games, along with the rest of the 2022 Subway AUS Basketball Championships are available to watch on AUStv.ca.