Sea-Hawks go down fighting

John Browne
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The Cape Breton Capers’ Meshack Lufile (left) goes up to block a shot from the MUN Sea-Hawks’ Alpha Kisusi during the team’s Atlantic University Sport conference game Sunday at the MUN Field House. The Capers won 75-73 for a weekend sweep of the host team.

Solid efforts, but no points to show for it as MUN drop two to Cape Breton in AUS men's basketball

In what has become an all too familiar scene, the Memorial Sea-Hawks faded down the stretch Sunday afternoon and fell 75-73 to the Cape Breton Capers in Atlantic Universities Sport (AUS) men’s basketball at the Field House.

It’s fair to say the beleaguered Sea-Hawks (1-13) deserved a better fate this time around against a very average Cape Breton (7-8) side, but the cold hard facts are that Memorial has yet to prove, with one exception, it can finish a game properly.

Cape Breton outscored MUN 20-13 in the fourth quarter Saturday, coming from behind an eight-point deficit, to pick up a 75-71 victory. The visitors picked up 21 points off turnovers in the game that saw the lead change hands 16 times.

The Sea-Hawks had an opportunity to tie the game with the last possession Sunday but couldn’t get the ball to drop after an in-bounds play with 5.6 seconds on the clock.

MUN’s Alpha Kisusi, who scored 19 points for the Sea-Hawks, including four three-pointers, said the game was “definitely our toughest loss of the season.”

Kisusi, who also had seven assists, credited CBU’s defence in the clutch, adding, “We just couldn’t get our shots off. We played good offensively, but it’s unfortunate we couldn’t get those (late) shots to drop.”

Vasilije Curcic led MUN with 21 points seven rebounds in the physical contest.

Cape Breton is one of the teams MUN had to catch to make the playoffs, so the two weekend losses hurt the Sea-Hawks all the more, which coach Peter Benoite acknowledged.

“Given the circumstances, we needed some points this weekend and we needed to keep them (CBU) from getting any, so this (series) is a tough one (to lose),” said Benoite.

“Our execution was very good, but we tend to get a little tight at times and stop moving the ball. It’s just a learning experience we have to get through.”

MUN looked particularly good in the third quarter when their offence was moving smoothly and effectively in outscoring CBU 23-17, but the Sea-Hawks couldn’t keep up the pace.

“When the pressure is on, we have to learn to stay loose and move the ball and rely on our executing. All you can ask as a coach is to have consistency at both ends and I’m not sure we got that today,” said Benoite.

“I’m pleased with our effort. We’re far ahead of where we’ve been although our record is not really indicative of how hard the guys are working.

“We’re in games, but we just can’t seem to pull it out down the stretch,” was Benoite’s familiar refrain after Sunday’s game.

There were some calls against the Sea-Hawks in the fourth quarter that had the MUN coach frustrated and upset and the home fans grumbling.

Benote took a technical with 5:23 left to play in the game. About three minutes earlier, Curcic was called for unsportsmanship in a game that got a little testy at times.

“The reality is that we have to play like we’re on the road all the time,” said Benoite, choosing his words carefully.

“And, until we start winning and prove that we are a winning team and that we’re competitive with the rest of the teams, we have to avoid the close games,” he added. “We’re not doing ourselves any favours by keeping the games close when we have chances to push and break it open a bit.”

Despite the solid effort, the Sea-Hawks will probably look back on these losses as the ones that cost them a shot at the post season.

The Sea-Hawks travel to Halifax next weekend for a pair of crucial four-point games against Dalhousie Tigers (3-11).

Organizations: Sea-Hawks

Geographic location: Cape Breton, Halifax

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