The Memorial Sea-Hawks didn’t have quite enough to construct two upsets.
The Sea-Hawks fell 96-83 to the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds Saturday night in the semifinal round of the 2018 Atlantic University Sport men’s basketball championship in Halifax, meaning Sunday’s AUS final wasn’t a dance of two Cinderellas.
The championship game featured just one at Scotiabank Centre, as UNB met the St. Francis Xavier X-Men, the fifth seed who knocked off top-ranked Dalhousie Tigers 81-76 in Saturday’s other semifinal.
The Varsity Reds won their first AUS title since 1967 with an 84-81 decision over the X-Men Sunday.
The sixth-seeded Sea-Hawks, 5-15 in the regular season, had beaten the heavily-favoured Saint Mary’s Huskies 72-70 in a Friday quarter-final, one of the biggest victories in Memorial men’s basketball history.
But they couldn’t come up with a repeat performance against the Varsity Reds, the 10th-ranked team in the country.
Memorial’s Davion Parnsalu, whose jump shot beat the Huskies with three seconds left on the clock Friday night, turned in a supreme effort in Saturday’s follow-up. In what would turn out be his last collegiate outing, the graduating fifth-year guard delivered a game-high 29 points along with nine rebounds.
While that helped the Sea-Hawks stay within hailing distance of UNB, they could never find what it required to overtake their opponents.
Greg Manuel added 17 points and a team-leading 10 rebounds for Memorial, which was outscored in three of four quarters. Nathan Barker, with 14, and Daniel Gordon, another graduating guard, with 13, also hit double digits in points for the Se-Hawks.
UNB was led by AUS MVP Javon Masters, the all-time leading scorer in Canadian university basketball. He had 20 points.