** Late note: UNB defeats Acadia by 3 on a buzzer-beater by 5'10" Andy Wright.
Before an excited, jam-packed house at DalPlex in a playoff atmosphere, 6'1" Simon Farine had 11 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, helping to fend off an X comeback that got the game to within 8 after Tigers led by as many as 21 to knock off St. FX. Dalhousie put themselves in the driver's seat for a second place finish and a first round bye in the AUS tournament. During the big mid fourth-quarter run, Farine had several nice takes to the rim, a sweet midrange pull-up banker and culminated his evening with a long 3 to restore a 15 point lead. Later, 6'9" Joe Schow, who had arguably his best game in a big spot as a Tiger, put an exclamation point on the victory with a wonderful baseline spin move on 6'9" Rodrigo Madera that Schow finished with a thunderous two-handed slam that left no doubt in the win.
X started their comeback attempt run midway through the third, keyed by their defense which held Dal to just 5 points over the final 5 minutes of the quarter. During the quarter-ending 14-5 run, X-Men got a conventional 3 point play from Madera, a nice take from 6'5" Jeremy Dunn and a three from 5'9" Will Silver to trail by 10 after 3. X got it to 8 a couple of times in the fourth until Farine took the game over.
Tigers jumped to a 20 point lead midway through the second quarter at 36-16 as Dal continually got into the teeth of the X defense off the dribble and had several easy transition scores. 6'5" freshman Terry Thomas singlehandidly kept X in the game in the first half with 12 points including an 8 point flurry inside and on the offensive glass which got X back to within 14. But the Tigers, led by their inside tandem of Schow (13 first-half points) and 6'7" Sandy Viet (8 points) plus 11 points from Farine rebuilt the lead to 18 by halftime. Thomas later had a highlight reel put back slam late in the game after the game had been decided.
Schow had arguably his best overall game of the second half for the Tigers, who also got 15 points from 6'2" Juleous Grant and a strong defensive effort from 6'2" Stephen Lopez, who continues to see more time in the rotation, especially as a defensive stopper which tonight was in full display on X's 5'10" Christian T-Bear Upshaw.
Dalhousie sweeps the season series against X and owns any potential tie-breaker for second place. Dal needs just 6 points from their final 6 games (14 potential points remaining) to officially clinch second. A victory tomorrow afternoon in a four point game against UNB at DalPlex could just about do it. X remains comfortably in third place.
AUS Standings including all Saturday's games
Cape Breton 15-1, 40 pts.
Dalhousie 9-5, 32 pts.
St. FX 10-5, 26 pts.
Saint Mary's 6-10, 18 pts.
UNB 7-7, 18 pts.
UPEI 5-10, 14 pts.
Acadia 4-9, 12 pts.
Memorial 3-12, 8 pts.
Other scores from tonight: UPEI 79, Memorial 72; UNB by 3 at Acadia.