Here is a quick review of important stories around the country from last night’s action in U-Sport men’s basketball.
AUS: Although the game was meaningless to the standings and playoff seedings, St. FX fifth-year guard 6’0″ Akil Charles made his Senior’s Night celebration unforgettable with a spectacular game-ending performance that lifted X to a regular-season ending 94-93 OT victory over UPEI at the Oland Center. The game also featured a near four-point play with under a second to go in OT that could have extended the match to a second OT. The dramatics began with X down 11 and under 4 minutes to play as Charles reeled off the next 12 St. FX points – all three pointers – capped by a dramatic shot from downtown to tie it with just 0.1 seconds showing on the clock. Charles then opened the extra frame with 5 consecutive points including another three, setting up the game-winning score by 6’1″ freshman Justin Andrew with just 25 seconds remaining. Andrew also secured a rebound on a UPEI miss on the following possession and made two free throws, giving X-Men a four point lead. Miraculously, Panthers Tyler Scott, playing the final game of his fine career, knocked down a three as the buzzer sounded and, improbably, X’s 6’8″ Kevin Bercy was whistled for a foul on the shot ! Scott, who earlier in the season had made a clutch elbow jumper to lead a Panthers win over X, unfortunately missed the free throw and X-Men held on to finish the season at 9-11, good enough for sixth place in the conference and a first-round date with Saint Mary’s. Huskies held on to third place with a victory at Cape Breton, keeping Capers winless this season. In the other AUS quarter-final tournament game this coming Friday at TD Place in Halifax, Memorial and Acadia meet for the third time in a week. #1 seeded Dalhousie and #2 seeded UNB Varsity Reds await the winners of Friday’s games.
RSEQ: Any mystery as to which team would finish third and avoid a first-place match-up with McGill was answered early Saturday evening as Concordia Stingers defeated Laval 75-63 at the BeeHive led by 6’4″ Ken Beaulieu‘s 15 points and 7 rebounds. Stingers finish second and face third-place UQAM in one of two RSEQ sudden death semi-final games on Friday at the Centre Pierre Charbonneau, a venue near Olympic Stadium in Montreal that holds about 2,700 fans for basketball. Later on Saturday, UQAM secured an 8-8 (.500) finish with a win at home over Bishop’s as 6’11” Yassin Debauche had a strong offensive performance with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Laval will face McGill in the other semi-final – games go at 6:30 ET and 8:30 ET. Specific schedule to follow.
Canada West: Biggest news of the weekend was Manitoba’s two-game upset sweep in Vancouver over UBC right in War Memorial Gym. Bisons, who have now won 17 of their last 19 games overall, had their way off the dribble during much of the two games and also took advantage of Thunderbirds face guarding 6’0″ A.J. Basi for some uncontested takes and easy back-doors to the rim. Basi however knocked down the game-winning and series-clinching three in the final 8 seconds of Game Two. T-Birds fell behind for periods and extended their “d” and the veteran Bisons, who have now qualified for their second consecutive Canada West Final Four, took advantage. UBC is now officially eliminated from any consideration for a Final 8 wild card berth – Canada West policy is to nominate only the two teams that qualify for the CW Final 4 and do not qualify automatically. The series was a bitter disappointment for 6’5″ Jordan Jensen-Whyte who was UBC’s most effective offensive threat all weekend long with 22 points in the Game One four-point regulation time loss and 33 points, 10 rebounds in the two point OT loss on Saturday. Jensen-Whyte had 12 of his 33 points in the 4th quarter and OT, rallying UBC from a 9 point fourth-quarter deficit including a pair of clutch free throws with 5 seconds remaining to send the game into the extra frame. Manitoba gets set to meet Calgary in the first CW semi-final in what will be a rematch of last season’s game won handily by the Dinos. Calgary had to work hard to sweep Thompson Rivers, having trouble when facing the WolfPack zone all weekend but coming from behind in the second game to claim the sweep against a TRU team with a short bench. Dinos are likely to have to face Manitoba without the services of zone-stretching 6’6″ wing forward Lars Schlueter who missed this past weekend with a high ankle sprain; his status for next weekend is uncertain… Alberta put on a three-point shooting barrage in the third and deciding game of their Best-of-3 against Lethbridge, making 8 of their first 12 threes in the first 11 minutes of the game, surging to a 23 point halftime lead with 69 first-half points. Horns had staged a dramatic comeback in game two with some fine three-point shooting of their own and squeezed out an OT win to force Saturday’s third game. Alberta, which shot 19 for 39 from three in the deciding third game against Lethbridge, meets Saskatchewan on Friday in one CW semi-final after Huskies swept Winnipeg, holding off the Wesmen in game two after a spirited rally that almost allowed Winnipeg to come from 20+ down. Get much more on Canada West at Wayne Thomas CanadaWest Hoops site