- Dalhousie 78, No. 9 Cape Breton 77 — Dal shooting guard Simon Farine (28 points, eight rebounds, five assists) must be a special player, if he can help his Tigers win a playoff game where they got outrebounded by 20.
It sets up what should be a highly charged matchup, considering Dalhousie is playing for the right to go to nationals for the first time since 1996, and considering the turmoil surrounding St. FX, which made short work of UPEI in the early game.
Details of how the endgame played out are not yet available, but Andrew Sullivan, who was a scourge of the Capers when Dal beat out CBU in last season's playoffs, dished out a game-high eight assists, turning playmaker. Josh Beattie and Farine's old high school running mate Yannick Walcott hooped 11 and 10 points, respectively, giving coach John Campbell's Tigers a shot at the program's first AUS title since 1996.
One's heart goes out to coach Jim Charters' Capers, whose season has been scuttled by a one-point loss and that double-OT decision vs. St. FX. The Capers have had a top-two finish in five of the past six seasons but haven't yet made it to a Final 8. Phillip Nkrumah was apparently his usual solid self for the Capers, with 18 points, 17 rebounds and six assists. Point guard Tremaine Fraser also hooped 18.
Obviously, any after-2 a.m. thoughts about this being a tough matchup for Dalhousie were faulty, at best.
- Co-No. 5 St. FX 89,UPEI 60 — The X-Men scarcely missed suspended Tyler Richards, with Will Silver stepping in to put up 15 points and five assists; meantime, they held the Panthers to 33% shooting and 25 first-half points, building an insurmountable lead.
The X-Men had five players in double-figures, with Alberto Rodríguez putting up 11 points and 13 rebounds. Guard Dwayne Johnson just missed a double-double, scoring nine and nabbing eight boards.
On paper, X is the favourite for Saturday, but you know the clichés...
Basketball: AUS Final 6; Farine's finest hour in just more than 24 hours puts Dal in final
Dalhousie vs. St. Francis Xavier on Saturday night, winner punches a ticket to Ottawa. The Tigers, under coach John Campbell, might be the sentimental favourite, playing in their first AUS championship game of this millennium: