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Tigers comeback to defeat Capers 77-73

Tigers comeback to defeat Capers 77-73

The Dalhousie Tigers came back from an early deficit to defeat the Cape Breton Capers 77-73 to close out their season at home. Down ten points going into halftime, the Tigers shot just under 50% in the second half as they mounted their comeback. The Capers finish the season with an 11-9 record as they sit in fourth place. The win gives the Tigers a 10-10 record, after they started the season 5-1. They'll finish the season in fifth place.

Sven Stammberger had a double-double for the Tigers with 12 points and ten rebounds, while Cedric Sanogo came off the bench to score a team-high 14 points on 7-12 shooting. Kashrell Lawrence, Ritchie Kanza Mata and Adam Karmali all had 11 points for the Tigers. Kanza Mata was named the Subway player of the game.

Cedric Kasongo led the Capers with a game-high 21 points in the loss. He shot an impressive 5-9 from beyond the arc, and helped space the floor for forward Meshack Lufile, who went 5-6 from the field and had 14 points and five rebounds.

The Tigers jumped out to a 7-2 lead early in the first quarter, but the Capers answered with a 10-2 run of their own as mounted a 12-9 leadmidway through the frame. The teams fought back and forth for the rest of the quarter, but the Tigers couldn't seem to contain the Capers inside, and they trailed 19-17 after the first quarter of play.

Meschack Lufile was an absolute beast in the paint in the first quarter, as he went a perfect 4-4 from the field and 2-2 from the charity stripe as he scored 10 of his 14 points in the opening frame.

The Capers pounded the Tigers in the second quarter, pouring in 27 points as they led 46-36 heading into halftime. Both teams were hot beyond the arc in the quarter, with the Capers going 3-4, while the Tigers hit four of their eight attempts from deep.

Sven Stammberger led the Tigers heading into the half, with seven points and six rebounds in the first half of play.

The Tigers started the third quarter on fire, as they narrowed the gap to three with a 9-2 run to open the half. They kept on the pressure and Ritchie Kanza Mata's jumper with two minutes left tied the game at 53. The Capers went opened the gap up to five with Christian Affolter's jumper, but Sean Dodds hit a shot with just over a minute to close the gap and the Capers led 58-56 going into the final quarter of play.

With the the Tigers up 70-63, Keyon Mayers hit a wide open three up top to cut the deficit to just four points with five minutes left in the game. Cedric Kasongo followed it up a minute later with a three of his own to make it a two-point game.

After Cedric Sanogo converted on an and-one, Kasongo hit his fifth three of the game to tie the game at 73 with just over 1:30 remaining.

With 50 seconds left, Jarred Reid got position down low in the post, and he got Kasongo to bite on a pump fake to draw the foul, as he headed to the line with the Tigers in bonus. He'd his one of his shots to give the Tigers a 74-73 lead.

The Capers took the ball up the court, and Akeem Isaac-Phillip drove on Kashrell Lawrence, who came up with the huge rejection, sending the ball into the stands. Lawrence came up with another crucial defensive play when he tipped the Capers lob inbound pass off Mashack Lufile to give the Tigers possession with 31 seconds left.

Lawrence then followed up his strong defensive play with a bucket of his own as he gave the Tigers a 76-73 lead with 15.8 seconds remaining.

After the Capers inbounded the ball to Kasongo, he slipped, nearly losing the ball. He regained control and found himself open for three, but he couldn't hit the shot. The Capers were forced to intentionally foul Ritchie Kanza Mata, sending him to the line. After hitting his first shot, he missed his second shot off the front rim, but he grabbed his own rebound, and he dribbled out the clock as the Tigers came away with the victory 77-73 victory. 

The two teams will now face each other in the first quarter-final of the 2015 Subway AUS Men's Basketball Championship next weekend at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax. The game will tip off at 6:00pm on Friday. The Capers last won the championship in 2013, while the Tigers haven't won the championship since 2009.