2014 Shoveller Tournament
Duncan Forbes - December 19, 2013
The Dalhousie Tigers men’s basketball team will be hosting the 23rd annual Rod Shoveller Memorial Basketball Tournament from January 2 to 4, 2014 at the Dalplex. The tournament regularly showcases some of the top teams in the AUS and the rest of the country.
The Tigers, who won the championship last year after a thrilling final against Saint Mary’s, will look to defend their title on their home court. This marked the first time since 2001 that the Tigers had won the tournament.
This year’s edition will feature the Tigers, the Saint Mary’s Huskies, Acadia Axemen, Bishop’s Gaiters, UPEI Panthers and StFX X-Men.
Here’s a look at this year’s competitors:
Acadia Axemen (5-2)
This season has been a perfect example of just how valuable forward Owen Klassen is to the Axemen.
Sidelined with injury through the pre-season, Klassen has been limited to four games this year, averaging 23.8 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. With Klassen in the lineup, the Axemen have won by a combined 31 points and are 3-1. Without Klassen, the Axemen are 2-2 and have lost by a combined 30 points.
Anthony Ashe has carried the load offensively for the Axemen thus far with 15.0 points per game. Despite Klassen’s absence, the Axemen have come up huge on the boards this year and lead the AUS with 42.0 rebounds per game.
StFX X-Men (5-3)
Though many expected this season to be an off-year for the X-Men, who lost star forward Jeremy Dunn to graduation last year, it has been anything but.
The X-Men now sit fourth in the AUS, with coach Steve Konchalski leading his team to a surprising 5-3 record, including a thrilling double-overtime 109-106 victory over the UPEI Panthers in a four-point contest. Starting guards Will Donkoh and Jordan Clarke have been a formidable backcourt duo thus far, combining for 29.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game, while logging big minutes every night.
The X-Men go into the tournament on a hot streak and are 4-1 in their last five games, with wins over the second place Saint Mary’s Huskies, Memorial Sea-Hawks and UPEI Panthers.
Saint Mary’s Huskies (6-2)
After starting the season as the CIS No. 9 ranked team, the Huskies have slipped out of the CIS top ten, but remain one of the top teams in the AUS. The Huskies have stormed out to a 6-2 record this season and have dominated teams at times with their athleticism and high-octane offense.
The Huskies are 3-0 at home this season, but only have a 3-2 record on the road. Jonah Taussig’s squad has run an incredibly efficient offense this year, picking apart opposing defenses with their pinpoint passing.
The Huskies second-year starting backcourt of Theon Reefer and Marquis Clayton are having a huge impact. Reefer is third in the AUS with 19.0 points per game and has 6.0 rebounds per game, while Clayton is second in the league with 15.4 points per game.
UPEI Panthers (3-5)
After starting the season 0-4, Tim Kendrick’s Panthers seem to be getting their season back on track and have gone 3-1 in their last four games.
Although the team is second in the AUS averaging 88.0 points per game, the Panthers defense has struggled all season long. The Panthers give up an AUS-high (average of) 91.4 points per game, including two games where they allowed over 100 points.
The Panthers three victories have not come easy and all three came down to the final play. They won back-to-back single point victories over Dalhousie, and pulled off a four-point victory over Cape Breton.
Reigning CIS rookie of the year Deonte Smith is sixth in the AUS with 16.0 points per game to go along with a team-high 5.5 rebounds per game.
Bishop’s Gaiters (3-1)
Bishop’s University will join the tournament as the only team from outside the AUS. The Gaiters sit second in the RSEQ with a 3-1 record.
The Gaiters opened up the season with three straight victories over UQAM, Concordia and Laval before being defeated by McGill 81-63 on November 28.
The Gaiters have been led thus far by Scott Ring, who tops the team with 12.3 points per game. Mike Andrews and Jonathan Bermillo each have 11.3 points per game, while Andrews has a team-high 5.8 rebounds per game.
Dalhousie Tigers (1-6)
While it certainly hasn’t been the start to Rick Plato’s CIS career that he expected, the Tigers 1-6 record doesn’t properly reflect the way they have played.
They have struggled to close out tight games all year and, despite their dismal record, the Tigers have only been out-scored by an average of 0.6 points this season. In fact, only one of their losses came by more than five points.
Second-year forward Kashrell Lawrence has had a breakout sophomore season and is third in the AUS with 17.6 points per game. Lawrence is seventh in the AUS and leads the Tigers with an average of 7.0 rebounds per game as well.
This time last year, the Tigers were 2-5 and looked like they were destined to finish outside of the AUS playoff picture. The Shoveller was a turning point for the Tigers, who won the tournament and went 9-4 in the second half of the season, finishing fourth in the AUS with an 11-9 record.
There’s no time like the present for Rick Plato’s young squad, who will need to prove themselves sooner rather than later, if they want to contend for the AUS championship in March.
Ticket packages are available at the Dalplex Customer Service Centre or during the event. For more information on the event, visit the Shoveller event webpage.
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