Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Championship Rematch Kicks off AUS Regular Season Tonight

The AUS regular season kicks off tonight in Wolfville, NS as the defending AUS tournament champions #4 Acadia Axemen (5-1 overall) host #7 St. Mary's Huskies (8-2 overall) in a rematch of last season's AUS tournament championship game. The teams have already met twice this season, splitting a pair of games including most recently just over a week ago at the championship game of the Eric Garland Invitational at UNB where the Huskies triumphed. In fact, both games between the two teams this season have taken place in New Brunswick with Acadia winning the first game in Moncton on Thanksgiving weekend. Defending AUS Player-of-the-Year 6'1" Paolo Santana (12.3 ppg/4.8 rpg in the pre-season) (pictured) is the energetic leader of the Axemen and is a blurr in transition who loves to get to the rim and play up tempo. Defensively, he is a ball hawk and last season ordinarily pushed up on a triple/double. The Axemen have also solidified their interior, welcoming 6'5" Leonel Saintil to the fold. The Memorial transfer is a former CIS rebounding champion and AUS Freshman-of-the-Year and has regularily led Acadia in scoring and rebounding this early season, averaging a double/double of 20.8 ppg/11.8 rpg. 6'4" Luckern Dieu has complemented Saintel up front, chipping in with 8.0 ppg/5.2 rpg. The third key member of the front line for Acadia is 6'8" Achuil Lual, a starter for much of last season. 6'2" point guard Andrew Kraus, who comes from a strong point guard lineage with brother Chris and father George - his high school coach, begins his second season in Wolfville and runs a tidy lead guard. Acadia has decided to start last season's sixth-man, 6'5" Shawn Berry and bring in another sharpshooter 6'0" Peter Leighton off the bench. Regardless of who starts, both wings can stretch defenses. The Huskies had a stellar recruiting class but are still led by the three key elements of their CIS Final Four team from last season: 6'2" Mark McLaughlin (14.4 ppg in the pre-season), 6'0" Mark Ross and 6'5" Ike Uchegbu. McLaughlin (pictured), who missed the first game between the two teams in Moncton on the Thanksgiving weekend due to injury, uses screens very well and is deceptive in his ability to get his shot off and creatively get to the rim when necessary. Ross is a classic glue-type point guard who ensures that the Huskies don't stray too far away from sharing the ball and running their sets when transition is not available while Uchegbu is rapidly becoming worthy of double teams in the post and works as hard as any post in Canada. Uchegbu, who missed Saturday's championship game at the St. FX tournament with a leg injury, should be ready to play tonight. 6'5" Aaron Duncan is back in the fold and prior to being forced to leave the team last season was a strong candidate for AUS Player-of-the-Year. Duncan and 6'1" Shane Morrison , both natives of Toronto, provide St. Mary's with strong, versatile athletes who love to attack the rim and get out in transition and run. Duncan has been hobbled by an ankle injury recently but should be ready to go as well. 6'7" Derrick Coleman has continually improved each and every game as he gets his timing back after transfering from the U.S. and should become more of a presence as time goes on. Expect a loud, excitable crowd at Acadia tonight, beginning at 8 PM Atlantic (7 PM Eastern). Photos courtesy of Atlantic University Sport.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Anyone know why Yuri Whyms is off Brandons roster on the CIS site?