Simon Marr doesn’t question whether the Dalhousie Tigers have the tools to be a champion, he’s just hoping his teammates will use all of them this weekend.
Marr and the fourth seeded Tigers will face off against No. 5 Saint Francis Xavier X-Men on Friday night in the first of two Atlantic University Sport men’s basketball final quarterfinals at the Metro Centre.
On paper the Tigers have a distinct advantage, having beaten the X-Men three out of four times in the regular season. The one loss came in their final match-up where Marr admits they were simply out-hustled.
“We just came out flat that game,” said Marr, the team’s leading scorer. “A lot of people say that if we come out with a full effort we’re scary. If we do that we can compete with anyone.”
The stats support that statement. They won two out of three regular season match-ups against the defending champs and second-ranked Acadia Axemen, and on one occasion, lost by a bucket against No. 1 seeded Cape Breton Capers.
“We have the better team, we just have to show it,” Marr proclaimed at practice this week.
Tigers captain William Yengue agrees. He said success will come from doing the things he and his teammates can control.
“We have to work as hard as we can to do the right things on defence,” said Yengue. ”It’s always defence that wins games.”
For their no-nonsense coach John Campbell, he’s focused on Friday’s matchup and ensuring his team can contain a potentially explosive X-Men club.
“It’s a little cliché, but we are approaching it game by game,” Campbell said of the weekend. “We feel like we have been competitive with everybody in specific games, I think that if we execute our game plan then we give ourselves a chance to win and that’s all you can ask for at this time of the season.”
The AUS men’s basketball schedule at Metro Centre
(5) St. Francis Xavier vs. (4) Dalhousie, 6 p.m.
(6) Saint Mary’s vs. (3) Prince Edward Island, 8:15 p.m.
Winner of quarterfinal No. 1 vs. (1) Cape Breton, 6 p.m.
Winner of quarterfinal No. 2 vs. (2) Acadia, 8:15 p.m.
Championship game, 2 p.m.