Men’s basketball fall to fifth in standings following 85-76 loss to UNB
Feb. 14 saw a tough loss for the Dalhousie men’s basketball team, who fought well the entire game only to come up short in the last few minutes to the AUS top-ranked UNB Varsity Reds.
Not even the AC/DC pumping through the speakers, amping up the Dalplex crowds during time outs, was enough to rally the Tigers. The silence after the final whistle blew from both the Dal bench and the stands was telling — the Tigers might not have been thunderstruck, but they were definitely dumbstruck.
Right from the tip off, it was a struggle for both teams to sink any baskets. It was almost two minutes into the first quarter until either team was able to put points on the board, with UNB finally converting two points, which Dal soon matched.
The teams kept pace with each other the entire first quarter. Towards the end of the quarter, first-year guard Sean Dodds sank a beauty three-pointer, Dal’s first of the game, right as the shot clock wound down. UNB, however, kept their lead, and ended the first quarter up by five thanks to a three-pointer right at the buzzer by veteran William McFee.
But the Tigers weren’t done and opened the second quarter in a big way. A minute in, a clutch steal by Dal’s Ritchie Kanza Mata closed the gap to one point and soon after, another monster three-pointer from Dodds tied up the score at 30 a piece. From there it was all systems go for Dal. With a three-pointer from Adam Karmali and Cedric Sanogo each, Dalhousie ended the first half up by eight.
UNB responded in kind in the third quarter, closing the gap to a couple points, nipping at the Tigers’ heels the entire ten minutes. But Dal kept their momentum going. Kashrell Lawrence was on fire and posted nine points, including an unreal dunk, which kept Dalhousie ahead the entire quarter and up by two at the buzzer.
Despite their best efforts, it all went to bits for the Tigers in a heartbreaking last few minutes of the game. They kept pace with the V-Reds for the first half, trailing by only a basket at the three minute mark, 74-72. But UNB rose to the occasion and sank a monster 11 points in the last few minutes of play, to take the game 85-76.
While defensive play from both teams kept the score close, the sheer number of missed shots, both layups and jump shots, by Dalhousie was alarming. Dal had a dismal field goal percentage, at just 39.3 per cent, and an even worse three-point field goal percentage of just 33.3 per cent. Lawrence carried the team with 22 points, which was as much as the next two Dal players combined. If the Tigers want to be competitive in the playoffs against teams like UNB, who posted better shot ratios on all fronts, point conversion has to be a priority
Dal faces the Cape Breton Capers Feb. 20 and 21, in a double header at the Dalplex. The Capers swept the Tigers in the last series, 91-64 and 77-71.