Huskies makeshift front line to be tested in Shoveller Final

A large reason why Jonah Taussig’s Saint Mary’s Huskies have reached this afternoon’s Shoveller Final is the fine work of what is a patchwork group of unheralded big men who, until this past Thursday, were after thoughts in the SMU rotation.  But with injury comes opportunity and in the spirit of “next man up” reserves 6’8″ third-year Brent Martindale (Kingston Holy Cross) plus a pair of freshmen:  6’8″ Brett Parrott and 6’7″ Tristan Hyde all have eased the burden of not having 6’8″ Osman Barrie and 6’7″ Ash Lual available.  Martindale, in his third season with the Huskies program, redshirted last season after averaging just 8 minutes and 2 points per game as a freshman in 2014-15, has burst onto the scene over the past two days culminating in yesterday’s 16 point effort in the win over Dalhousie.  Martindale is averaging 14 points and 4.5 rebounds for the tournament and is perfect from the foul line.  Parrott ensured SMU held a double digit halftime lead against Dal, scoring 13 points in the first half including 11 when Saint Mary’s took a second quarter lead.  The graduate of Kitchener’s Sir John A. MacDonald has a smooth perimeter stroke and can make defenders pay for over-helping.  Hyde, the freshman from Bedford, NS, ran into early foul trouble yesterday but had 10 points and 5 boards against Queen’s before fouling out.  While the work of Huskies reserve forwards has been impressive, the trio will encounter an entirely new animal this afternoon with Ottawa’s imposing front line of 6’9″ Jean Pierre-Charles and 6’7″ Brody Maracle.  Pierre-Charles had a game-high 21 points last night vs. St. FX and helped Gee-Gees dominate the offensive glass, especially in the second half.  Taussig will have to decide rather early whether or not to double down on the slick Maracle who is crafty around the rim and capable of scoring when left alone in one-on-one coverage.  Meanwhile, 6’3″ Caleb Agada will meet another fine wing player in 6’6″ Theon Reefer – expect the referees to have an impact on today’s game – during last night’s Dal/SMU match, almost 60 fouls were called and all key players including Reefer were in foul trouble for much of the game.  Agada managed to avoid that fate in the semi-final but played only 17 minutes in the opening day win over UPEI due to fouls.  Ottawa has been getting solid work at both ends from 6’0″ Calvin Epistola and coach James Derouin may need to use the quick-footed sophomore to check 5’9″ Marquis Clayton, who continues to be impactful.  The highly-ranked Gee-Gees are trying to capture the Shoveller title for the second time in three seasons and sweep three AUS opponents while Saint Mary’s makes their pitch for re-consideration into a Top 10 ranking which would be reasonable if they can pull what would be regarded as an upset this afternoon at DalPlex.  Game time is 3 PM Atlantic and 2 PM ET on AUSTV with Allan April on the call.


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