Here's Sean O'Neill's second piece for us, breaking down this week's AUS men's basketball action so far. We'll have his own user account up and running shortly-Andrew
The men’s side of the AUS is turning into two conferences: the haves and have-nots. At the top reside Cape Breton, St. FX and Dalhousie, who have a combined record of 23-5. The top two will receive byes to the semifinals of the AUS playoffs.
The have-nots include Acadia, Saint Mary’s, UNB, Memorial and UPEI. All five are under .500, with a combined record of 16-34. But three of those teams will still get to punch a ticket to the postseason party.
Way back in February 2009, Cape Breton and St. FX played a double overtime classic that X pulled out 93-84. Fast-forward 23 months and another epic double overtime game was played by the teams in question Wednesday. This time, the Capers came out on top 101-98.
With Cape Breton down one with less than a minute left, Capers' forward Phil Nkrumah nailed two free throws to send the lead to the visitors. X didn’t score on its resulting possession and with 12 seconds left Paris Carter went 2-2 from the line to extend the lead to three. St. FX couldn’t hit a game-tying shot, and the Capers and their supporting Orange Army left the Oland Centre with the W.
The irony is CBU won the game at the charity stripe with all the pressure on the line; that's been the team’s Achilles heel this season, as they sit last in conference free-throw percentage.
CBU guard Tremaine Fraser was named AUS athlete of the week for his exploits against Acadia the weekend prior to the midweek clash. But he was only fifth in scoring against X for CBU, which is a sign of incredible depth.
Nkrumah had 26 points and nine boards, point guard Jimmy Dorsey had 23 points, 11 rebounds and 8 dimes, and forward Scott Jaspers-Fayer dictated the glass again with another 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Charlie Spurr was huge off the bench for X, going 5-6 from behind the arc and leading the X-Men with 21 points. Point guard Christian Upshaw, playing his final regular-season game against the Capers, had 16 points, six assists and four steals.
Before the game last night, Cape Breton swept Acadia over the weekend by respective scores of 72-63 and 93-88. The X-Men had no problems defeating Memorial 113-61 and 109-73.
The other team in the “have” part of the conference, the Dalhousie Tigers, defeated bottom-feeder UPEI easily 77-57 in Charlottetown. However, they lost on Tuesday night to their cross-town rival, the schizophrenic Saint Mary’s Huskies.
The Huskies spent the weekend in close battles against UNB – which they won 65-63 – and UPEI – which they inexplicably lost 88-84. But, against Dal, AUS leading scorer Joey Haywood dropped 41 and Tory Fassett added 21. They were the only Huskies in double figures. Tigers guard Simon Farine was excellent in the loss with 25 points and five assists.