With both UPEI and Saint Mary’s among the more explosive offensive teams in the country, the first semi-final in the 24th Shoveller Memorial sets up as a fast, up-and-down affair with, if Vegas had an opinion on these games, an over-under in the 200 area. Indeed, fans at the Eric Garland UNB tournament in the pre-season saw a 113-107 OT affair that the Huskies captured, as 6’2″ Brian Rouse went off for a career-high 42 points. Panthers were without Tyler Scott for that October match-up and later evened the score on the road at the Homburg Center in a four-point game as Scott returned to lead a 20-4 third quarter run allowing Panthers to even the season series at one apiece, prevailing 89-79 with Scott firing 26 points.
This third meeting of the season between the two teams is prefaced by the fact that next Saturday Huskies and Panthers will tangle again in Charlottetown in a 4 point AUS regular season game. But expect both teams – with their fine arrays of explosive guards – to push the tempo at every opportunity with marquee guards Scott and SMU’s Marquis Clayton’s performances most impactful on the outcome
Today’s outcome will also be heavily influenced by how well Saint Mary’s keeps Panthers athletic Bradley States off the offensive glass and run with him in transition. Huskies bigs Osman Barrie and Achuil Lual’s ability to rebound at the defensive end and convert to defense will be tested.
My pick is the Panthers given that Scott and States combined make up in my opinion the most offensively gifted pair of guard/forwards in the AUS.
In the night cap, host Dalhousie Tigers – comfortable winners last night over Mount Saint Vincent Mystics – take on Concordia Stingers who pulled away from Acadia late to advance. This match-up will likely be in stark contrast to the first game as both teams look to rely on stifling half-court “d” (although Stingers have been a bit more deficient in this area after a strong start to the ’15-16 pre-season defensively). Both teams have deep benches and ordinarily go at least 9 or 10 deep. Tigers consistency in knocking perimeter shots down may be the determinant in this game tonight.
Both games are on AUS TV with Huskies/Panther starting at 5 PM ET/6 PM AT.