On paper, it will read two straight losses for the Memorial University’s men’s basketball team, snapping a three-game win streak and dropping the Sea-Hawks back to 4-8.
But the story behind the story is the Sea-Hawks had a very good showing against the Dalhousie Tigers over the weekend, the three-time defending Atlantic University Sport champions and last year’s silver medallist at the U Sports nationals.
In the Tigers’ den at the DalPlex in Halifax, Memorial took Dalhousie to overtime Saturday before losing 102-94.
Friday night, the Sea-Hawks lost by only seven points, 89-82.
The Lady Birds had a bit more success in downtown Halifax over the weekend, splitting with the Tigers following a 76-65 win Saturday afternoon. MUN lost 60-53 Friday.
For the second time in his last three games, Daniel Gordon drained 30-plus points, this time 35 against the Tigers. He was nine-for-17 from the three-point line.
Gordon is now fifth in conference scoring.
Nathan Barker, who had a 35-point game last weekend against Cape Breton, had 20. Greg Manuel scored 16 points and Davion Parnsalu netted 14.
The Tigers outscored their guests 27-17 in the first quarter, but the teams were tied 27-27 in the second, giving Dal a 54-44 halftime lead.
The Sea-Hawks got the jump on the Tigers in the third quarter, outscoring Dal 21-11. The teams were knotted 86-86 after regulation time when Dal’s Xavier Ochu made a layup with nine seconds left on the clock.
A turnover by Parnsalu with six seconds to go ended any hopes of a late victory in regulation.
Parnsalu had the hot hand Friday night, scoring 24 points. Manuel netted 17 points, and Barker and Gordon each had 11.
Dal led 40-36 at the half.
Despite its 4-8 record, the Sea-Hawks sit alone in fourth place, but there’s a big gulf between them and the top three teams. UNB is 10-1, and Dalhousie and Acadia are both 8-2.
The Sea-Hawks are off next weekend. Memorial’s next series comes against Acadia Jan. 27-28 at the Field House.
The Lady Birds ended the weekend on a high note Saturday, following some tense moments Friday night when star Sydney Stewart went down with an ankle injury.
According to Memorial coach Mark English, Stewart went up for a rebound and came down on another player’s foot, rolling her ankle in the process.
“We thought it might be broken,” he said.
Stewart was taken to hospital where X-rays showed there was no break.
“She hasn’t seen any physiotherapists yet, but I’m speculating she’ll be out a couple of weeks,” English said of his player, who leads the team with a 16.1 points per game average and is fifth in the AUS.
Stewart didn’t dress for Saturday’s game.
“When a key player goes down to injury, sometimes that can deflate a team,” English said. “It’s good to know we could bounce back without her.”
In Stewart’s absence, Haille Nickerson went to work on the Tigers, lighting up Dal for 25 points. Lindsay Taylor netted 20, Brooklyn Wright scored 12 and Rosie Stanoev had 10.
MUN led 39-31 at halftime.
Friday, Wright was the only Sea-Hawk in double figures with 15 points.
Dal led 30-28 at halftime, and opened up the game by outscoring Memorial 19-10 in the third quarter.
The Sea-Hawks fall to 7-5, but still sit alone in second place in the AUS standings. Acadia is a perfect 10-0, which sets up a big series in two weeks’ time against the Axewomen at the Field House.
The Sea-Hawks’ women’s volleyball team came up empty in Halifax over the weekend, losing three straight games by 3-0 results to the Saint Mary’s Huskies.
Memorial now falls under the .500 mark, to 5-6 in the six-team conference. Dalhousie is first at 1-0 followed by 8-3 Saint Mary’s and 7-4 Acadia.
MUN plays host to UNB next Friday, Saturday and Sunday.