Huskies hold court at home in gritty win over Dalhousie

Saint Mary’s (3-0) 90, Dalhousie (2-1) 77… The hometown Huskies took over after halftime with their exciting, up tempo transition game, scoring 50 second-half points and pulling away midway through the fourth quarter to defeat the Tigers in the first of several cross-town rivalry games between what appear to be the top 2 teams in the AUS this season.  Saint Mary’s, playing without starters 6’8″ Osman Barrie and 6’3″ Kemar Alleyne, leaning heavily on their starting five that tonight included usual reserves 6’1″ sophomore Will Fiander who produced arguably the best game of his career and 6’8″ Achiul Lual, who was steady inside.  SMU exposed sketchy Tigers transition defense as 6’5″ Brian Rouse was a terror in the open court, finishing with a game-high 24 points and 7 rebounds, including several acrobatic takes and finishes while Lual shot 9-12 for 22 points.  6’5″ Theon Reefer added 18 points for the Huskies who have numerous wings/guards who can break you down off the dribble, especially at high speeds.  Fiander had 14 points including two very important 3’s at key times and flirted with a triple double, adding 8 rebounds and 5 assists, showing he will be a formidable asset for SMU off the bench going forward.  5’10” Marquis Clayton, averaging over 30 ppg in SMU’s first two games of the AUS regular season, was held to just 3 of 13 shooting as Dal’s stellard on-the-ball defender Ritchie Kanza-Mata was solid holding Clayton down.  The diminutive guard did provide the final dagger for Saint Mary’s with a 35 foot three-pointer from the left wing with the shot clock winding down late in what promises to continue to be a heated rivalry for Halifax and likely AUS championship bragging rights.  Two of the nation’s top freshmen were on display at the Homburg Center tonight as Dal’s talent 6’7″ Alex Carson made his first AUS regular season road game appearance and struggled, especially guarding the ball on the defensive end as Huskies coach Jonah Taussig went at that match-up frequently, especially in the second half.  Carson finished just 1 for 4 from the floor with 3 points and 2 boards in 23 minutes.  SMU’s bulky 6’2″ Kordiero James picked up 3 quick fouls and struggled all night to get into the flow and was held scoreless.  Kanza-Mata led the way for Dal with 17 points, 4 assists and 5 steals, outplaying Clayton this evening however it did not matter as Huskies wings and forwards picked up the slack, playing with more energy and purpose ultimately than Dal.  Tigers shot just 4 for 24 from three-point land as Huskies generally packed it in defensively and Dal could not respond.  The teams meet again on Saturday at DalPlex.

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