In another remarkably exciting finish in a tournament filled with memorable lore, Saint Mary’s 6’5″ Theon Reefer missed the first of two free throws with no time remaining on the clock as Dalhousie Tigers survived a dramatic Huskies comeback attempt to win 75-74 to advance to tomorrow’s AUS tournament championship game. Reefer had been fouled after retrieving his own rebound off a missing after he grabbed an unlikely “o” board when, Huskies, down 2 with 3.8 seconds remaining, watched 6’0″ Kemar Alleyne purposely miss his second foul shot. Reefer cleanly grabbed the miss but overshot his put-back attempt, grabbed that miss and was fouled by 6’6″ Sven Stammberger to the chagrin of several Tigers including Coach Rick Plato who came out all the way to center court. But his mood quickly changed to joy when Reefer’s first free throw rimmed out.
Dal had trailed for much of the game but took the lead late and, up 1 with about a minute remaining, locked down the Huskies and forced 6’8″ Osman Barrie, who had a wonderful offensive game up to that point, to make a pass under duress which 6’2″ Kashrell Lawrence (31 points) jumped and stole, taking it all the way for a break-away “and 1” and a four-point lead. After Reefer knocked down a pick-and-pop 3, Kanza-Mata made 2 free throws, setting up the dramatic final 3.6 seconds, started by a decision by Coach Plato to foul Alleyne purposely. That tactic almost backfired on the Tigers when Reefer grabbed Alleyne’s miss and had what looked like a wide-open lay-up to tie it.
Tigers used their AUS leading “d” to stay in the game despite only taking the lead late. Dal had numerous offensive rebounds and kept 5’11” Marquis Clayton in check for the most part (only 7 points). Barrie had 19 points and 13 rebounds to lead Saint Mary’s while 6’3″ Brian Rouse had some creative takes to the rim finishing with 18 points (8-12 shooting) and 5 assists before fouling out in the final minute. Reefer had 15 however Saint Mary’s could not deal with Lawrence inside as he went 13 for 21 from the floor, adding 6 rebounds while Stammberger had a 15-point, 11 rebound double double.
UPEI and Acadia meet in the night cap for the right to play Dalhousie tomorrow afternoon.