(Halifax, NS) – In the back end of a home-and-home, the Dalhousie Tigers squared off against the Acadia Axemen at the Dalplex. Acadia gained a slight edge early, and finished quarters strong as they held on to a 79-72 victory to sweep the two-game series.
Erik Nissen (Quispamsis, NB) of the Axemen started the game on fire from the field, picking up eight of Acadia's first 12 points, with six of those coming from long range. The Axemen jumped to a 12-6 lead early, forcing a Tigers timeout, and the Tigers came out of that timeout with a new intensity.
Sascha Kappos (Miami, FL) stepped up to lead the Tigers offense early, getting his mid-range jumper going to bring his team back in it. With less than a second left in the first quarter, Tyler Williams (Dallas, TX) finished strong in the paint through contact.
The Axemen continued to be red hot from beyond the arc in the first quarter, going 6-8 with Nissen hitting three of those, showing big-men don't just play in the paint. At the end of the first, Acadia led 26-18 over the Tigers.
The scoring slowed down in the second quarter, with both teams continuing to force up long shots, but both teams cooled off early.
Alex Carson (Lower Sackville, NS) started to get a rhythm going midway through the quarter, knocking down a three, and then making two nice drives to the paint ending with layups to bring the Tigers back within one.
The Axemen made short run of their own at the end of the quarter, started by Mason Middaugh (London, ON) finding Mitchel Tempro (Three Mile Plains, NS) in transition for the layup, and another long-range shot from Ben Miller (Winnipeg, MB).
Heading into the half, the Axemen led the Tigers 36-31.
Tigers fifth-year standout Sven Stammberger finally got going at the start of the second half, with two nice moves to the hoop, the second one resulting in a three-point play to tie the game. Sascha Kappos was also making strong moves in the paint, finishing at the rim with a hard dunk to give the Tigers a lead.
The Axemen started to attack the paint heavily in response to the Tigers run, with Nissen overpowering players down low.
Acadia made a point of finishing quarters strong, just as the Tigers being to climb back in it each time. The Axemen made 12-5 run, late in the quarter to take back, and extend the lead, going into the fourth quarter up 57-50.
Ben Miller changed his game up at the start of the fourth, instead of taking deep shots, he drove to the paint with two nice finishes on difficult moves to the hoop.
The Tigers guards started to do the same. Alex Carson and Jordan Aquino-Serjue (Montreal, QC) found space in the paint to get layups at the rim for the Tigers.
The long range shots continued to kill the Tigers chances of climbing back into the game as Nick DePalma knocked down the 11th of the game for the Axemen, putting them up 72-61 with just over two minutes left.
The Tigers made a quick five-point run in just 19 seconds, with Aquino-Serjue hitting two free-throws after a hard fall, and a steal leading to a Carson three-pointer. With just over a minute left, the Tigers were down 72-66.
Acadia called a timeout on the next play, and coming out of it, DePalma hit another dagger three-pointer with with one minute to go.
Time ran out on the Tigers comeback as Acadia took the 79-72 win.
Alex Carson led the Tigers with 30 points, while Erik Nissen put up 21 for Acadia to go along with eight rebounds and six assists.
The Tigers will face their cross-town rival Saint Mary's on Tuesday in an important 4-point game, while Acadia will host StFX on Friday.
Provided by Dalhousie Athletics Communications