When the Memorial men’s basketball team find their shot, they simply cannot be contained. Just ask the St. Mary’s Huskies, who hosted the Sea-Hawks January 15/16 in Halifax. After beating the Sea-Hawks 86-78 in the opener, the Huskies were taken to overtime by an electric Memorial, who showed their true class and prevailed 109-105 in the follow-up.
Another day, another double-double for star Vasilije Curcic in Saturday’s game. The big man scored 27 points to go with 12 rebounds, and also blocked three shots for good measure. Davison Parnsalu’s 17 represented the bulk of the scoring help, while Marquis Clayton and Brian Rouse led the Huskies with 23 and 20 respectively. A lack of range plaguing the red and white did not seem to affect St. Mary’s, who scored eight threes to Memorial’s four, helping them spread the floor and keep the lead out of reach. What should have been an even game leaning in Memorial’s favour was turned on its ear by a number of costly turnovers, which St. Mary’s did not hesitate in turning into points. The Huskies also kept the rest of the Sea-Hawks starters quiet, especially the usually sure-shooting Caleb Gould, were kept out of the game by intelligent pressing by St. Mary’s, choosing instead to manage Gould’s reps by face-guarding him and keeping the ball out of his hands. Despite a big push by Memorial in the fourth, an 18-32 first quarter was enough to insulate the Huskies from any real threat.
Not to be out done by a big night from teammate Curcic, Parnsalu reminded everyone in the return matchup just how good he can be. Parnsalu was on fire for this game, cutting and driving to the basket at every opportunity, scoring a game-best 36 points and doing it all. With tired St. Mary’s legs struggling to keep up, Parnsalu showed no signs of slowing down late, getting to the line frequently and hitting his shots with cold, calculating precision. While coach Benoite gave some of his starters some well-deserved rest down the stretch, he knew better than to tamper with the hot hand of Parnsalu, who played virtually every minute of the game. Gould returned to form with a near double-double line of 13 and nine of his own, while Noel Moffatt and Curcic also flirted with the mark (17/9 and 17/8). This time, it was the Sea-Hawks making the turnovers hurt, scoring 35 points off gimmes to the Huskies’ 15. Finally, despite out-rebounding the Sea-Hawks and with every starter scoring by the bucketful, St. Mary’s could not get any help from their bench. Speedster Daniel Gordon poured in 11 points in 31 minutes and ran defenders ragged, sealing the victory for the Sea-Hawks.
Memorial (5-7) temporarily leapfrog St. Mary’s (4-6) with the result, but have two games in hand. The middle of the table is a logjam of five and six win teams, and how the playoff picture will look at season’s end is anyone’s guess. With the pair of results, Memorial are now 4-1 when scoring 90 points or more, and 1-6 otherwise.
Memorial have a week off before hosting the UNB Varsity Reds at the Field House January 30/31. Tip-off at 8:00 PM and 1:00 PM respectively.