Big points up for grabs in AUS basketball

John
John Browne
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Sea-Hawks host Varsity Reds at the Field House

Memorial Sea-Hawks men’s and basketball teams will reach the halfway point of the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) season this weekend when they take on the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds in the home team’s first games since the Christmas break.

While it’s still early, these are crucial four-point games for the Sea-Hawks in terms of each of their playoff hopes, particularly for the MUN men who are winless in eight games.

The Lady Hawks, meanwhile, have a mediocre 3-5 record and will look to take advantage of the last-place Varsity Reds (3-6) Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m. at the Field House.

The Lady Hawks are the only team in the conference without a top-10 scorer and only UNB has scored less points overall.

Second-year Sandra Amoah leads MUN in scoring with 10.8 points-per-game, good enough for 13th place in the conference. Megan Robinson has 9.8 ppg., followed by Kelia Pond at 9.1.

While Lady Hawks coach Doug Partridge points out all his team really needs to do is split their remaining games to make the playoffs, a sweep is on his mind this weekend.

“A sweep would put us at 16 points and make it all but impossible for UNB and Acadia to catch us,” said the veteran MUN mentor.

But he’s not counting the points until the games are over.

The MUN coach said the Varsity Reds have two big posts “and they can cause some problems inside. If their shooters make shots, they are dangerous on any given night.”

Also, he added, “Our offensive struggles mean every game is tough.”

Partridge says right now he’s getting a great effort and strong defensive play from everyone.

“People are giving me their best,” he said.

However, he noted. “We need to shoot the three-ball better to be a consistent team and that’s team wide.”

In the meantime, The Lady Hawks will be without Sydney Stewart, Rebecca Amo-Mensah and Katherine Vanden Elzen this weekend due to injuries.

MUN MEN

Memorial’s men’s team face a much more difficult task this weekend when they go up against a 7-2 University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds squad 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

The Varsity Reds, led by rookie guard phenom Javon Masters, are tied for first place in wins with Acadia Axemen.

Acadia swept MUN last weekend in Wolfville, N.S., although the scrappy Sea-Hawks lost by only five points in the series opener before close to 1,000 spectators at the War Memorial Gymnasium on Saturday.

Masters, meanwhile, leads the AUS and CIS conferences in scoring with a remarkable 30.3 points-per-game average and shutting him down, or at least limiting his offence, will be an immense task for the home side.

“UNB will certainly be another tough matchup for us,” said MUN coach Peter Benoite. “They have been ranked in or near the top 10 in the country from the start of the season.

“They always play hard but this year their guard play is among the best in the country. We’ll have to find a way to contain Masters as he’s been lighting up the league.”

Benoite also pointed out UNB’s Dan Quirion (14.4 ppg.) is having a strong year, and Will McPhee is shooting the ball “extremely well” after coming off  the bench to put up 16-points in a recent win over Dalhousie Tigers.

There is a glimmer of light for the underdog Sea-Hawks.

“We’ll have a size advantage, “ noted Benoite, “so if we can contain their guard play and take advantage of our size inside and on the boards, we’ll give ourselves a chance to get a win and perhaps get the ball rolling for us.

“I feel if we can break through that barrier of sealing a win things may get a bit more relaxed for us and perhaps we can get things going.

 To do that, however, Benoite says his team, the lowest scoring in the conference, will need to give a consistent effort “and play the way we need to play.”

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Field House, University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds

Geographic location: Acadia, Wolfville

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