Game recap by: Kirk Jessome
(Halifax, NS) – In the second semi-final matchup of the Shoveller Memorial Invitational Basketball Tournament, the host Dalhousie Tigers were taking on the UNBC Timberwolves. After finishing the first three quarters with neither team able to gain an edge, the Tigers put together a run in the fourth quarter and held on to take the 91-86 victory.
It was a rough start for the Tigers on the offensive side of the court with turnovers adding up early. On the other end of the floor, the Timberwolves were moving the ball well and finding the open man to hit outside shots.
After finding themselves down seven, the Tigers called a timeout, and their game on the attacking end changed completely. Shots started falling for Sven Stammberger (Halifax, NS) who picked up seven of the team's first 13 points, and Alex Carson (Lower Sackville, NS) found his range from outside as well.
The Tigers still couldn't seem to get stops, however, as the Timberwolves continued to get outside shots from Volodymyr Pluzhnikov (Kharkiv, Ukraine).
At the end of the first, the score was knotted at 16-16.
Second-chance points were huge for the Timberwolves to start the second quarter as they were out rebounding the Tigers 21-10 so far, with nine of them being on the offensive side. Vaggelis Loukas (Athens, Greece) collected five rebounds and was making them count by putting them back up.
The Tigers finally started to get stops on the defensive end with two minutes to in the half and made a small run to get ahead 37-33 with less than a minute to go.
With just a few seconds to go the Timberwolves came down the court on a fast-break and Daniel Stark finished the layup with just two seconds left, despite getting hit hard on the way up. With that, the teams headed into the halftime break tied at 36-36.
The Timberwolves came out of the break shooting the lights out, hitting their first three shots, two of them from beyond the arc.
Sascha Kappos (Miami, FL) stepped up for the Tigers out of the break, finishing through contact down low and then stepping out to hit the shot from long range.
The Timberwolves continued to spread the floor and get inside the paint on the attacking end, maintaining a five-point lead for most of the third quarter.
The Tigers made a push late in the quarter, with a huge dunk from Sven Stammberger of a drive from the wing, and capped off by an end-to-end drive by Xavier Ochu (Milton, ON) who finished at the rim as time expired in the third quarter.
Heading into the fourth the Timberwolves still held a one-point lead at 65-64.
The Tigers came out with intensity on both ends of the floor to start the fourth, forcing three turnovers in the early minutes and capitalizing on the other end with quick ball movement.
The Timberwolves responded to the Tigers run with a strong move from Pluzhnikov getting to the rim, and a big three from Marcus Mackay (Terrace, BC) to bring them back within two.
With only four minutes to go, the Tigers picked up their defensive intensity, forcing turnovers and converting on the other end with a 7-0 run to get themselves up 83-74.
With his team down, Marcus Mackay buried a three through contact, and hit the free-throw after to complete the four-point play and bring his team within five.
In just his second game as a Tiger, Xavier Ochu was huge for the Tigers, driving the lane and picking up crucial points down the stretch. But the Timberwolves continued to hit shots from deep with Mackay hitting his sixth from long range, and Pluzhnikov hitting his fourth to bring UNBC within two.
After two clutch shots from the line from Alex Carson, the Timberwolves had the ball down four with just 18 seconds left, but the inbounds pass sailed over the head of the target and out of bounds for a turnover. This resulted in the Timberwolves needing to foul, and Keevan Venoit (Port Williams, NS) putting the game out of reach.
The Tigers held on to take the 91-86 win.
Volodymyr Pluzhnikov was named the player of the game for the Timberwolves, finishing with a game-high 25 points to go along with five rebounds and 3 assists. Sven Stammberger earned the title for the Tigers with his 24 point, 11 rebound double-double performance.
The Timberwolves will take on Saint Mary's tomorrow at 1:00 for 3rd place, while the Tigers will go on to face the StFX X-Men in the championship game at 3:00.