The defending AUS champions had a rocky start to the second half of the regular season. The Tigers lost 80-64 to their arch rival the Saint Mary's Huskies at the Dalplex. The Tigers had one brief lead in the game and were unable to get anything going against Saint Mary's tough defence.
The first quarter was closely contested between the two teams. Brian Rouse was as a force in the offensive end for the Huskies, scoring eight points and collecting three offensive rebounds in the first quarter. The Tigers duo of Ritchie Kanza Mata and Sascha Kappos were working well early as Kappos scored three first quarter baskets on three assists form Kanza Mata.
At the end of the first quarter the Huskies led 20-15.
A string of blocks and tenacious rebounding on defence from Kevin Doung and Sven Stammberger allowed the Tigers to tighten the deficit. The Tigers took a brief lead in the middle of the second on a long three pointer from Ritchie Kanza Mata just as the shot clock was about to expire.
However the lead would be short lived as Saint Mary's stormed back and took a 39-34 lead into the locker room at halftime. Five late second quarter points from Tigers forward Alex Petronis helped keep the game close.
Brian Rouse continued his dominate play for the Huskies, scoring a game high 22 points, 12 of them in the second half. A huge put back dunk from Huskies guard Theon Reefer which garnered a big reaction from the crowd, gave the Huskies some momentum and consecutive three pointers from Marquis Clayton would be the nail in the coffin for Dalhousie as Saint Mary's had a 22 point lead to make the score 69-47 at the end of the third quarter.
The Tigers continued to fight back and manage to decrease the deficit throughout the final quarter. Three pointers from Kappos and Petronis helped the Tigers decrease the margin but they were unable to get any points in the paint due to the strong and stingy Huskies defence, led by Achuil Lual who was a blocking and rebounding machine.
Adam Karmali hit a late free throw to decrease the Huskies lead to 16, where it would ultimately stay with a final score of 80-64 in favour of the visiting Huskies.
Dalhousie returns to action at the Dalplex Friday January 8 at 8pm vs StFX, while the Huskies had to PEI to take on the UPEI Panthers on Saturday, January 9.
Source DAL Communications, photo Trevor MacMillan