Editor's note: This is the first piece from Sean O'Neill, who we've brought on board to cover AUS basketball. It's about the Jan. 8-9 games; he sent it to me earlier this week and it fell through the cracks in my inbox, so direct all delay-related complaints to me. Expect more from Sean shortly. - Andrew
Men's basketball: Capers lose a man and a game
The defending AUS champion Cape Breton lost starting fifth-year forward Scott Jaspers-Fayer to an ankle injury.
Then the Capers lost their first game of the season.
The Dalhousie Tigers defeated CBU 93-79 Jan 8. in Halifax. Jaspers-Fayer’s size was missed as Dal out-rebounded the Capers 38-18 in the first game. Joseph Schow led the Tigers with 26 points and 11 rebounds, and fifth-year guard Simon Farine played another big game against CBU with 19 points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals.
The Capers won the rematch Jan. 9 64-57 thanks to a balanced attack.
St. FX had no trouble disposing of UPEI Jan 8. and beating Acadia in Wolfville Jan. 9. The X-Men won 94-60 and 104-67, respectively.
UPEI lost its other game of the weekend Jan. 9 in overtime against Saint Mary’s, 97-85. UPEI didn’t score in overtime. The Huskies were powered by CIS-leading scorer Joey Haywood’s whopping 46 points.
Before getting beaten by X, Acadia hosted Saint Mary’s on Saturday night winning 91-81. Conference-leading rebounder Owen Klassen led Acadia that night with 23 points and 11 boards.
UNB and Memorial played a double-header on the Rock which was split by the two struggling teams looking to tie down the 6th and final playoff spot. The Varsity Reds took the opener 71-58, with Memorial winning the second game 100-95.
The Varsity Reds are holding on to the final playoff spot with a 4-4 record and a two-point lead on 2-6 Memorial. Even with their first loss of the season, the Capers still hold on to first place in the conference with a six-point lead on Dalhousie. The potential is still there for a real scrap for the second-place position and a bye in the playoffs, with the Tigers, X-Men and Axemen all separated by four points.
Women – Reds continue to blow opponents away
Before the season UNB head coach Jeff Speedy told me the eight-team AUS was seven-deep this year with quality teams. But the Reds have been the one to separate themselves from the league with a 7-1 record and a No. 6 national ranking, scoring 86.5 points per game and winning by an average of almost 20 a game.
Lead by the big three of forward Amanda Sharpe, point guard Leah Corby and sensational rookie forward Claire Colborne—who is second in the country in scoring with 22 points a game—the Reds defeated the Memorial Sea-hawks 94-65 and 94-78.
Elsewhere in the conference, second-place Cape Breton had a disappointing split against struggling Dalhousie. The Capers won the opening match 77-66 and lost the capper 71-67. That win improved the Tigers' record to 2-5. They still sit outside the playoff bubble.
The UPEI Panthers’ conference-losing streak is now at 31 games. They are almost halfway to a second-straight winless season, and dropped two more road games 76-44 and 79-53 Jan. 8 and 9 to St. FX and Saint Mary’s.
For Saint Mary's, guard and potential MVP Justine Colley filled up the boxscore yet again with 33 points, six assists and six rebounds. She did the same in a losing cause against Acadia the day before. Colley had another impressive line with 32 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks and two assists, but the next highest scorer for the Huskies had only seven. The Axewomen won 71-50, led by Emma Duinker’s 23 points and eight boards.
Colley leads the nation in scoring (24.4 ppg), to go along with her 5.8 rebounds, 4.67 assists and 3.3 steals a game, but her Huskies are in the sixth and final playoff spot.