(HALIFAX, N.S.) - It was a heart-breaking end to a season that had everyone on their feet. The UNB Varsity Reds, who finished first in the AUS this season for the first time in 48 years, fell 85-74 to the Dalhousie Tigers in the Subway AUS semi-final game.
The Varsity Reds got off to a quick start in the championship game, thanks to Javon Masters (Kitchener, Ont.) who scored the first five points of the game and led all scorers with 26 points in the game.
UNB had the slight edge in the first frame, maintaining the lead throughout most of the quarter. The Varsity Reds led 17-13 heading into the second frame.
The Tigers' Adam Karmali (Vancouver, B.C.), kicked off the second quarter with a three pointer, making it a one-point game. UNB then stormed back, outscoring Dalhousie 23-16 and went to the locker room with a 40-29 lead at the half.
Will McFee (Northbridge, Australia) led all scorers in the first half with 15 points. Teammate Masters added 14 while Dalhousie's Adam Karmali (Vancouver, B.C.) led the Tigers with 12 points.
With a three to begin the third, Halifax native Sven Stammberger gave the Tigers their first lead since the first quarter.
That kick-started the comeback for the Tigers who tied the game up late in the third with a three from Jarred Reid (Aurora, Ont.). The two teams then traded buckets until the end of the third when UNB led by one after three.
Stammberger, turned it on in the fourth quarter with 12 points including a long three pointer late in the frame to put the Tigers up by six with just over two minutes left to play.
Stammberger and the Tigers never looked back as they turned the initial 11-point deficit from the first half on the Varsity Reds, beating them 85-74.
Shooting 53 per cent along with strong defensive play was the difference maker in the second half for the Tigers.
Stammberber was named Subway player of the game for the Tigers, posting 20 points, 11 rebounds, three steals and block in the win.
McFee earned Subway player of the game nods for the Varsity Reds, contributing 22 points, two rebounds and a steal.
UNB head coach Brent Baker says he has no regrets.
"I'm disappointed for our guys. I'm not disappointed in our guys. That's the big difference," Baker said. "A lot of those kids in that room over the past three or four years have eaten a lot of humble pie and taken a lot of beat downs, and it's nice to walk in a locker room when you're 16 and 4 and see the smiles on those kids faces. So I'm not going to sit here and complain. We are what we are, and they executed better than us tonight."
The Dalhousie Tigers now move on to face the Saint Mary's Huskies in the Subway AUS Men's Basketball Championships final game Sunday at 4:30 p.m. at the Scotiabank Centre.