The Dalhousie Tigers stunned the first place Acadia Axemen Saturday night, defeating them 75-62 to finish out their season in front of their home crowd. The Tigers end the season at 6-14 and narrowly miss a berth in the AUS playoffs, while Acadia holds onto their first seed with a 15-5 record as they look poised to make another run at the AUS Championship.
The win comes just two days after the Axemen crushed the Tigers 99-55.
Before the game, Tigers head coach Rick Plato honoured graduating players Simon Marr and Nathan Smith with plaques commemorating their careers with the Tigers. Marr, a transfer from Saint Mary's, spent two seasons with the Tigers and led them in scoring last year, while Smith played four seasons for the Tigers.
The Axemen got out to an early 8-2 lead, but the Tigers answered with a 19-4 run to give themselves a 19-13 lead after ten minutes of play. The Tigers pushed the ball and kept the pressure on in the second quarter, and good outside shooting from Derek Norris and John Traboulsi helped them establish a 39-28 lead going into halftime.
The Tigers led by as many as 21 in the third quarter with Ritchie Kanza Mata ran the offense effectively and efficiently, as they only committed seven turnovers all game. The Tigers would go the distance, holding onto their substantial lead as they won 75-62.
Owen Klassen had 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Axemen, while Anthony Sears added 15 of his own. The Axemen shot well from the field (48.1%), but they left too many points at the line, shooting 44.4% from the charity stripe.
Kashrell Lawrence had a game-high 21 points and eight rebounds for the Tigers, while John Traboulsi and Jarred Reid combined to shoot 12-21 from the field for 27 points. Simon Marr added 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds in his final AUS game.
The Axemen will head to the 2014 Subway AUS Men's Basketball Championship as the first seed and have earned a bye into the semifinal. They will face the winner of UNB and StFX on March 1 at 6:00pm at the Halifax Metro Centre.