Tigers win second consecutive AUS championship

Photo courtesy of Nick Pearce
Photo courtesy of Nick Pearce

Source: Atlantic University Sport

(HALIFAX, N.S.) – The top-seeded Dalhousie Tigers have been crowned AUS champs, defending their 2015 title, after topping the UPEI Panthers 87-85 on Sunday afternoon at the Scotiabank Centre in Subway AUS Men's Basketball Championship action.

The Panthers came out firing, following up on their strong Saturday night performance, knocking down three straight three-pointers and jumping out to a quick 16-point lead midway through the first quarter.

Tyler Scott had 10 points in the first 10 minutes on 4-5 shooting, including 2-3 from downtown.

Jarred Reid was able to keep the Tigers close, shooting a perfect 3-3 from the floor for seven points in the quarter.

UPEI took a 25-17 lead into the second quarter on 10-18 shooting (5-8 from three).

Dalhousie looked much more comfortable in the second quarter, rallying back to tie the game at 29 midway through the frame and taking their first lead of the game (32-31) with just over three minutes left to play in the half.

Matt McVeigh and Sven Stammberger fueled the Tigers comeback, scoring six and five points respectively on a combined 4-4 from the field.

The Panthers' leading scorer at halftime was still Scott (10 points, four rebounds and three assists), despite being held scoreless in the second quarter.

Sven Stammberger's eight points led Dalhousie on 3-5 shooting, along with one three, two assists and two rebounds.

AUS first team all-star Ritchie Kanza Mata scored just two points on 1-7 shooting but was able to contribute five assists, two steals and two rebounds in the first half.

UPEI was able to regain their lead and head to the locker room up 37-36 at the half.

The third quarter was tightly matched as neither team was willing to give the other an inch of space.
Scott was able to find his stride again in the third quarter as he scored 11 points, shooting a perfect 4-4 from the field, including 3-3 from downtown.

The Tigers responded as Kashrell Lawrence scored seven in the quarter on 2-4 from the field, aggressively attacking the paint and getting to the free throw line.

After 30 minutes of play Dalhousie took a 61-57 lead into the final frame.

The fourth quarter was an all-out battle as Kanza Mata, the fourth-year guard from Toronto, Ont., scored 15 of his team-high 21 points in the final 10 minutes.

UPEI's 6-foot-7 second-year guard, Milorad Sedlarevic scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, keeping the Panthers within striking distance by hitting two big three-pointers late in the fourth.

However, Kanza Mata continued to relentlessly attack the rim, scoring several clutch buckets and free throws in the final moments of the game, helping the Tigers hold off a late Panthers rally, and securing them their second-straight AUS banner.

Kaza Mata was named the Subway Player of the Game with 21 points, eight assists, four rebounds and picking up a game-high five steals in 34 minutes on the floor.

Subway Player of the Game for the UPEI Panthers was Sedlarevic with 17 points (6-10 from the field) with four assists, three rebounds, one block and one steal in 28 minutes of play.

Dalhousie's Kanza Mata and Lawrence were named championship all-stars, along with Bradley States and Tyler Scott from the Panthers and Saint Mary's Osman Barrie.

Kashrell Lawrence was named championship MVP for the second straight year.

The Tigers now advance to the 2016 Arcelormittal Dofasco CIS Men's Basketball Final 8 championship, being hosted March 17-20 by the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C.

For more information about the CIS championship, please visit http://en.cis-sic.ca/championships/mbkb/index.