WOLFVILLE, N.S. - In an all-important four-point game, the Dalhousie Tigers hosted the Acadia Axemen on Wednesday at the Dalplex. On the back of a strong fourth quarter, the Tigers were able to hang on for the 85-67 victory.
It was raining threes for the Axemen to start the game, going 4-5 in the opening minutes of the quarter, with Marcus Upshaw (Burlington, ON) knocking down a pair.
The Tigers defence picked it up in the final three minutes of the opening quarter, forcing three turnovers in a row to get easy transition looks on the other end of the floor, including Adam Sellan (Toronto, ON) finishing a tough, reverse layup with a man right on top of him.
Sparked by the late run, the Tigers took a 22-14 lead into the second quarter.
The pace slowed significantly in the second quarter, to the benefit of the Axemen. Setting up in a slow, half-court offence gave Brett Speedy (Fredericton, NB) space for wide-open shots from deep to bring his team within two.
As the Tigers offence continued to struggle in the quarter, the big-men of the Axemen were taking advantage of it. Rowan Power (Dartmouth, NS) sent back a highlight-reel block on one end of the floor, while he and Forest Mahoney (Beachburg, ON) were getting into the paint to lead the attack on the other end.
Holding the Tigers to just 9 points in the quarter, the Axemen were able to even it up at half time at 31-31.
The Tigers finally got themselves into an offensive rhythm to start the second half, with Keevan Veinot (Port Williams, NS) and Sascha Kappos (Miami, FL) getting a solid two-man game going for open looks at the rim.
After Mahoney and Upshaw knocked down back to back threes, they opened a lead at 42-35, forcing a quick timeout from the Tigers. Coming out of that timeout, Shamar Burrows (St. Catherines, ON) stepped up for a solo five-point swing on a strong and-one play, and a beautiful spin-move in the paint to get to the rim.
With the help of a pressure defence causing trouble in the Axemen back-court, and back to back and-one plays from Alex Carson (Lower Sackville, NS) and Veinot, the Tigers were able to reclaim their lead. But with just seconds left in the quarter, Jacques Lukusa (Ottawa, ON) got to the rim to even it up once again at 53-53 heading into the fourth quarter.
After a cold start, Carson was moving well for the Tigers in the second half, getting into the paint to finish a tough and-one play, and then getting fouled on a pull-up from deep to knock down three shots from the line to give the Tigers an 8-point advantage midway through the fourth.
The pressure defence continued to affect the Axemen, and a few key steals from the Tigers opened a big lead in the late minutes of the quarter.
As the final buzzer sounded, the Tigers were able to hang on for an 85-67 win.
Jacques Lukusa led the Axemen attack, finishing with 15 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists in a very solid overall game. Alex Carson found his stride with 18 points in the second half to finish with 22 and 6 rebounds to lead the Tigers charge in the final 20 minutes to earn the Subway Player of the Game.
The Tigers will need to recover quickly, as they will be back on the court at home on Friday when they take on UNB. Acadia will also play their next game at home when they host StFX on Sunday.
Provided by Kirk Jessome, Dalhousie Athletics Communications