(HALIFAX, N.S.) - The Saint Mary's Huskies (1st) topped the Cape Breton Capers (4th) 73-60 in the first men's semifinal matchup of the Subway AUS Basketball Championships.
The Huskies looked like the top-ranked team from the get-go as they stormed out to a 9-0 lead to start the first quarter, led in scoring by their fourth-year forward, Brent Martindale. Cape Breton rallied back but were only able to connect on four of their 18 field goal attempts in the frame, including 0-5 from three, totaling 10 points in the quarter.
Saint Mary's surged again to start the second quarter, pushing their lead to 14 before the Capers were again able to rally back, drawing within four late in the half thanks to Osman Omar's ability to get to the rim and draw fouls. Omar, Cape Breton's AUS first-team all-star, was held to 1-10 shooting in the first half but still led the team with eight points heading into the break as his Capers trailed the Huskies 39-31. Saint Mary's AUS first-team all-star, Nico Brauner, was the difference-maker for the Huskies in the first half, taking a game-high 17 points (5-10 FG, 5-6 FT) into the break.
Saint Mary's started the third with another scoring run, this time 9-2, over the first five minutes of the second half, and extended their lead to as much as 17 midway through the quarter. Although the Capers were able to key in on Brauner in the second half, the Huskies continued to rack up points through other means, including five third-quarter points from Johneil Johnson and four apiece from Nikita Kosongo and Jelani Mofford.
All game the most consistent piece for Saint Mary's was their defensive anchor, six-foot-six forward Andre Nitvumbura, who finished the game with nine blocks and 10 rebounds, earning him Subway Player of the Game Honours despite only scoring two points on two field goal attempts. Cape Breton was never able to solve the Huskies, who led the entire game. Saint Mary's never let the Capers bring it closer than 13 after the midway point of the fourth quarter.
The Huskies now move on to play the winner of the second semifinal matchup between the UNB Reds (2nd) and the Dalhousie Tigers (3rd) in Sunday's championship game at 4:30 p.m. at Scotiabank Centre.