By Erin Meagher
As the final seconds ticked down on the clock at the Metro Centre on Sunday afternoon, the Dalhousie University Tigers captured their second Atlantic University Sport title in three years with a 78-47 win over the Acadia University Axemen.
“There were different emotions for the players and the coaches,” said Tigers head coach John Campbell. “The players were very enthusiastic, excited and celebratory but from a coaching perspective it’s a quieter emotion and a sense of relief. We were pleased but unfortunately it doesn’t last very long, you start to think about getting prepared for the following weekend.”
Dalhousie finished their regular season second in the AUS standings and therefore had a bye to the semifinals which took place on Saturday night against St. Francis Xavier University. With more than 5,000 fans in attendance, the Tigers rallied to a 79-68 win to advance to the championship game.
Video footage from Tigers vs. X-Men semifinal game
The Tigers won three of their four regular season games against Acadia University but had to stay focused if they wanted to win, as the Acadia Axemen upset the 19-1 Cape Breton University Capers in the semifinals.
“We prepared like we do for every other game,” said Campbell. “We were probably a little extra focused just based of the fact that Acadia beat us in our last conference game against them. I think that the guys had a lot of respect for how they can play. We knew that Acadia had played very well the night before against Cape Breton.”
Campbell also made sure that his team did not take anything for granted as these opportunities do not happen often.
“The other thing that we talked about was trying to get the guys to realize how few opportunities you often have to win a championship and how that creates a bit of a legacy for them. We tried to get them to appreciate all of the sacrifices they made along the way and really invest in the opportunity.”
Dalhousie captain Simon Farine had an outstanding weekend. He scored 22 points against St. Francis Xavier University and 24 points against Acadia University. He earned Subway Player of the Game honours on Sunday as well as tournament MVP.
Campbell said although his team had a few small breakdowns, they were able to regain their focus quickly and remain positive.
“I’m really pleased with our overall performance. As we came into the weekend we were focused on trying to really execute our game plan over the course of the two days, and in both games for the majority of the time we were successful in doing that.”
The Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship will be held at the Metro Centre this coming weekend. Dalhousie will take to the court against Saskatchewan in the CIS quarter-finals on Friday at 6pm and is guaranteed another game on Saturday (see full schedule below).
The Tigers will face some of the best competition in the country but Campbell believes his team can be successful as long as they stick to their game and battle hard.
“We definitely don’t have an easy road. Saskatchewan is the defending national champions. They finished second in a very good conference in western Canada. We have our work cut out for us but at the same time if we’re able to execute our game plan similar to what we did this weekend, I think we can have some success.”
CIS Championship Schedule
Friday, March 11 (quarter-finals)
Game 1: Acadia vs. UBC @ 1pm
Game 2: Trinity Western vs. Lakehead @ 3:15pm
Game 3: Dalhousie vs. Saskatchewan @ 6pm
Game 4: Concordia vs. Carleton @ 8:15pm
Saturday, March 12
Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 @ 12pm
Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4 @ 2 :15pm
Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 @ 5pm
Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 @ 8pm
Sunday, March 13
Consolation game (5th place) @ 10:30am
Bronze medal game (3rd place) @ 1:15pm
Championship game (1st place) @ 5pm