The Acadia Axemen have secured a berth in the AUS finals with a decisive 74-55 win over the Saint Mary's Huskies at the Halifax Metro Centre Saturday night.
The second AUS semifinal was an unspectacular match up, with both teams struggling to make shots early on. Acadia got out to an early lead and never looked back, flexing their depth throughout the game and pulling away in the fourth quarter.
The Huskies certainly had their opportunities to make this a game keeping it close early on but their inability to sink free throws allowed the Axemen to widen their lead. SMU went 6 for 20 at the line, while actually outshooting the victorious Axemen from the field, with a 43.0 effective-field goal percentage to Acadia's 40.1.
Huskie forward Riley Halpin was the leading scorer for both teams with 21 points (though 0-6 at the line) and keeping his team somewhat in the game especially during the third quarter where he was lights out. SMU struggled to string together stops on defence, however.
For the Axemen, they were led by Tyler Scott who had 19 points and went 5 for 8 from three point range, and Anthony Ashe (15 points, 13 rebounds). Defensively the Axemen forced 22 turnovers in the game and outrebounded the Huskies 2 to 1 on their glass (34-17) and nearly drew even on their own (25 to 29).
Acadia must now focus their attention on the Capers, whom they defeated two weeks ago in Wolfville, but they lost their three other matchups against CBU this year, including two blowouts (93-72 and 92-61) in Sydney. This is now the third consecutive season the Axemen have reached the conference final, winning it all the previous season.
Both AUS finalists appear to be heading to nationals regardless of Sunday's result, having finished in the top 5 of the five most recent CIS Top 10 votes.