Tigers win in overtime thriller

Photo by Trevor MacMillan
Photo by Trevor MacMillan

Game recap by: Kirk Jessome

(Halifax, NS) – In the final regular season home game of the 2018-19 season for the Dalhousie Tigers, they took on the UNB Reds. It took extra time to decide the winner of this one, but the Tigers were able to hang on for the 78-70 win to end their season.

The Reds opened the game with some hot shooting from beyond the arc, with Daniel Pitcher (Sydney, AUS) knocking down two, and Chris Spurrell (Quispamsis, NB) adding a third to force an early timeout from the Tigers.

Coming out of the timeout shots weren't falling at a high percentage for the Tigers, but they were aggressive on the offensive glass, opening second chance opportunities in the paint, highlighted by big-man Sascha Kappos (Miami, FL) slashing through the paint to throw down a big dunk.

The Tigers shooting woes saw them go just 1-8 from deep in the opening quarter, while Daniel Levitt (Montreal, QC) knocked down the Reds fifth three of the frame at the buzzer. At the end of the first, the shooting of the Reds gave them a 19-11 lead.

Alex Carson (Lower Sackville, NS) got the Tigers started on an early run in the second quarter with five points in two quick possessions while the Reds were held to just two points in the opening five minutes of the quarter.

The Tigers used the cold stretch from the Reds to take their first lead of the game off a tough and-one play from Mike Shoveller (Arnprior, ON).

The Reds were once again sparked by the deep ball however, with Levitt and Spurrell hitting on back to back possessions to retake the lead on a short run of their own.

After an exciting first half, the Reds held the advantage at 32-29 going into the third.

Foul trouble became an issue for the Reds in the third quarter with the Tigers earning plenty of trips to the line where they were shooting a very impressive 85% as a team. The Tigers needed those free-throws after shooting below 30% from the floor.

The Reds were able to keep it tight and help slow down the Tigers run with a few big threes coming at opportune times off the hands of Levitt and Pitcher. The Reds shooting was highlighted by Pitcher putting his defender on skates, and then stepping in for the wide open three.

The very physical frame came to a close with the Tigers holding a 51-45 lead.

The fourth quarter was full of runs going both ways, started off by the Tigers jumping out to an 8-point lead on a tough three from Alex Carson in transition.

Following a timeout, the Reds made a run of their own with Will Legere (Amherst, NS) hitting glass to bank in a three, followed by Pitcher knocking down another pull-up jumper to make it a one-point game with two minutes to go.

The Tigers were able to stop the bleeding after a timeout, with Keevan Veinot (Port Williams, NS) finding Sascha Kappos under the rim to finish a big dunk.

With just 18 seconds left and down by three, Pitcher drove the lane and showed great vision on the kick to Spurrell who came up clutch with a huge three to send it to overtime at 67-67.

The Tigers came out firing on a 7-0 run, with Kappos knocking down back to back midrange jumpers to force a UNB timeout.

The Reds were able to get yet another three from Spurrell, but it was the only bucket in the overtime frame for them as the early run from the Tigers gave them the 78-70 win to end their season.

The free-throws made the difference for the Tigers in this one, going 32-38, while the Reds were only 2-8, and 12-30 from three. Chris Spurrell was responsible for five of those threes, finishing with 21 points, while Alex Carson was 4-4 from deep to finish with 22 points to lead the Tigers to the win. 

The Reds will finish their season next weekend with a pair of games against Saint Mary's and Acadia while the Tigers head to Memorial for their last games of the regular season.