(Halifax, NS) – In the first game of a home-and-home series, the Dalhousie Tigers hosted the Saint Mary's Huskies at the Dalplex on Wednesday. Some defensive adjustments in the second half helped lead the Tigers to a 91-65 win.
With the Huskies defense clogging up the paint, the Tigers had to resort to midrange shots, but they were falling early for Keevan Veinot (Port Williams, NS) and Jordan Brathwaite (Milton, ON).
On the other end, the Huskies weren't afraid to crash the boards looking for rebounds, with Tristan Hyde being the beneficiary of that, picking up rebounds early and capitalizing on a tough and-one play.
In a physical affair, the Tigers ball movement was making the difference early, as they led 27-16 after the first quarter.
Johneil Johnson (Lake Echo, NS) got the second quarter started with a beautiful behind the back move to get by his defender and take a euro-step to the basket to cap off a great move. That move sparked a quick 6-0 run for the Huskies, forcing the Tigers to call a time out to get back on track.
Still being forced into outside looks, the Tigers shooting went ice cold late in the half, and a three from Nikita Kasongo (Chateauguay, QC) brought the Huskies right back in it with two minutes to go in the second.
The Tigers were able to get two quick scores in the final seconds from Matt McVeigh (Halifax, NS) and Sascha Kappos (Miami, FL) to bring the lead back to 45-36 at the break.
The Tigers defense moved into a 2-3 zone to start the second half, helping them to control the paint and force the Huskies to play to the outside.
The two teams traded buckets throughout the quarter, with the Tigers continuing to get production from Veinot dropping a few slick passes into the paint for Sascha Kappos, while Kasongo was able to keep a hot hand in the second half.
Making a play to get his defender in the air and draw a foul for three shots with the clock at zero, Jordan Wilson (Nassau, Bahamas) gave the Tigers a 65-54 lead going into the final quarter.
The Tigers went on a 9-0 run to start the fourth quarter, highlighted by Jordan Brathwaite making a shot through contact, with Kappos cleaning up the rebound for a four-point play and a 20-point lead.
Coming out of a timeout, Coach Plato drew up a beautiful play for Veinot to find Kappos rolling to the rim for a two-handed alley-oop dunk.
With the respective benches finishing out the second half, the Tigers came away with the 91-65 victory.
Nikita Kasongo led the Huskies scoring with a 17-point 10-rebound double-double performance. The Tigers Keevan Veinot finished with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists, while Sascha Kappos also had 19 points to go with 9 rebounds.
Shamar Burrows (Saint Catherine's, ON) was named the Subway Player of the Game, finishing with 10 points and controlling the pace of play in the second half for the Tigers.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday at the Homburg Centre.