For a while Sunday afternoon in Halifax, the Memorial Sea-Hawks looked like they might hand the Saint Mary’s Huskies their first loss of the 2018-19 Atlantic University Sport men’s basketball season.
But the Huskies, fourth-ranked in the nation, eventually lived up to their unbeaten reputation and prevailed 91-71, handing Memorial a second loss in as many days.
As a result the Sea-Hawks have some work do on the final weekend of the regular season in order to earn a place in the upcoming AUS playoff tournament.
Memorial (6-12) still holds the sixth and final playoff spot in the conference, but is actually tied in points with the Acadia Axemen (6-13). The good news for the Sea-Hawks is that they hold the advantage over the Axemen when it comes to any tiebreaker involving the two teams. However, to clinch a post-season spot, Memorial will need to win at least one of its two remaining games, which see the Dalhousie Tigers (12-6) visiting the Field House in St. John’s this Friday and Saturday.
Both games are worth four points. (Games become four-pointers in cases where teams only meet twice in a season).
Should Acadia lose to the second-place UNB Varsity Reds in the Axemen’s final game next Saturday in Fredericton, the Sea-Hawks could get in through the back door, but there is still the matter of the last-place UPEI Panthers, who are four points behind Acadia and Memorial.
The Panthers have games remaining against the St. Francis Xavier X-Men and Cape Breton Capers, and they too are each are worth four points, meaning UPEI could overtake the Sea-Hawks if Memorial loses twice to Dal.
As is the case with Acadia, the Sea-Hawks hold the advantage over the Panthers in any tiebreaker, so to put it simply, Memorial will get in the playoffs by winning at least one of two against Dal, or if both Acadia and UPEI suffer a loss next weekend.
Heck, a sweep of the Tigers might even vault the Sea-Hawks into fifth-place over St. FX, which begins the week four points up on Memorial.
Saint Mary’s 91, Memorial 71 (Sunday)
After getting pasted 113-65 by the Huskies (19-0) on Saturday, the Sea-Hawks responded with a much better effort in the rematch and actually led by two points at the half.
However, Saint Mary’s pulled away midway the third quarter and continued extending its lead for the remainder of the contest.
Nathan Barker topped Memorial with 19 points and seven rebounds, with Daniel Foo (15) and Jason Thomson (14) also in double digits offensively for the visitors.
Nikita Kasongo had a game-high 22 points for the Huskies.
Saint Mary’s 113, Memorial 65 (Saturday)
Emmanuel Ring registered 18 points and eight rebounds for the Sea-Hawks, while Barker had 17 points and seven boards, but there was not much to write about for Memorial on this night, except perhaps for the fact they led 23-19 through one quarter.
But Saint Mary’s outscored them 94-42 the rest of the way, led by Johnneil Johnson (18 points) and Qyemah Gibson (16), who were part of a Huskies bench that contributed 62 points alone.