Graduating guard Davion Parnsalu managed only five points Friday night, but saved the best for last by scoring the biggest two points in Memorial University’s 2017-18 men’s basketball season as the Sea-Hawks upset the Saint Mary’s Huskies 72-70 to advance to today’s Atlantic University Sport semifinals.
The win over the Huskies, which virtually nobody predicted, will go down as one of the biggest victories in Memorial basketball history.
The Huskies were the third-ranked team in the AUS at 14-6, compared to the Sea-Hawks who slipped into the AUS playoffs at 5-15 and sixth-place.
On top of that, the Sea-Hawks finished the regular season on a four-game losing streak, and had dropped nine of their last 10 games entering the playoffs.
It was a tight, see-saw battle at Scotiabank Centre in Halifax – the game was tied 33-33 at halftime – with Memorial pulling it out on Parnsalu’s layup with five seconds to go in regulation time.
The Sea-Hawks trailed 70-68 when Memorial called a timeout with 46 seconds left in regulation time. Greg Manuel then proceeded to tie the game by finishing off a layup, setting the stage for Parnsalu, the fifth-year guard from Ajax, Ont.
Daniel Gordon, another graduating guard, led Memorial in scoring with 24 points, and Nathan Barker scored 23. Manuel added 13.
The Sea-Hawks will now play the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds in Saturday’s semifinal which goes at 9 p.m.
The Varsity Reds were second in the AUS this season at 16-4.
Meanwhile, the other two Memorial teams involved in the AUS playoffs Friday weren’t so fortunate.
The Sea-Hawks’ women’s basketball team lost 71-61 to Saint Mary’s in Halifax despite a 28-point game from all-star Sydney Stewart.
And the women’s volleyball team was swept 3-0 by defending champion Dalhousie Tigers in the women’s volleyball playoffs at the Field House in St. John’s.
Dal and the Acadia Axewomen play in the final 7 o’clock tonight at the Field House.