Battle of Halifax: Hassan Abdullahi Leads Dalhousie in Victory Over SMU

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HALIFAX, NS–When Saint Mary’s and Dalhousie take the floor, a competitive game is expected regardless of records; a fight for more than just the win, a battle for bragging rights to the city of Halifax. In the first of four meetings this season between these two rivals, the Dalhousie Tigers emerged victorious in overtime 75-69.

It was a sloppy game in the first half for the Tigers that didn’t go their way due to offensive inconsistency combined with Saint Mary’s Jordan Lee scoring 14 points in the first two quarters. Dalhousie shot 25% in the first half and Head Coach John Campbell knew the Tigers were lucky to still be in it.

“I think we’re probably fortunate to have been able to hang around the way we did in the first half today, when you score 21 points (at halftime) you’re not going to be in very many games.”

The Tigers continued to be resilient as newcomer to the AUS, Jordan Lee continued to score the basket in a number of ways, including a monster jam that had the entire Homburg Centre jumping out of their seats. At one point, the Tigers trailed by 18 and their chances were dwindling on every possession. As the third quarter closed out, Dalhousie went on a 19-8 run including a rare three pointer by Simon Marr in the final minute of the quarter.

The score was 45-41 and things were looking up for the Tigers as they had erased a huge deficit and looked to have the Huskies in their sights. The Huskies then scored ten straight points within a minute, thanks to Miguel Pink hitting a triple and Kevin Thomas throwing down a monster breakaway jam.

Jordan Lee continued his hot streak as Saint Mary’s led by ten again with three minutes to go.  However, SMU could not put the nail in the coffin, and let Dalhousie make a late push.

With two minutes to go cue the battle for Halifax drama. Hassan Abdullahi who had played well all game, rose to the occasion in the clutch. The freshman guard knocked down two of the biggest shots in his AUS career hitting back to back three’s from the same spot, knotting the game up at 64.

Coach John Campbell spoke to NPH after the game about the final minutes of regulation “I’d love to say that I had something brilliant or game plan related, we were doing what we always do and we were trying to correct errors and trying to execute a little bit better than what we were doing.”

Overtime was necessary.

To start, Jordan Lee hit a three pointer and Jumol Mullings responded with a three of his own. SMU would take the lead momentarily, but Dalhousie’s Simon Marr (SMU transfer) knocked down a pair of free throws and Dalhousie never looked back picking up the victory 75-69.

“SMU is one of the toughest teams and this is one of the toughest places to play; last week we won at St. FX and this week we won here, basically we’ve proved to ourselves that we can beat anyone in the conference,” Dalhousie Co-Captain William Yengue explained.

After winning their first game of the season at St. FX on the weekend, Dalhousie now picks up their second road victory in the last week out of three tries.

“In reality it gives us two points, but I think over the last week with a win at St. FX and a win at Saint Mary’s we at least know now that we can compete,” said Campbell.

“You need tangible victories and for us I think it’s important the more wins we get the more confidence we get and it reinforces the positive things we need to do to be successful,” he continued.

Saint Mary’s started the season with two victories over Memorial, but has since lost five in a row to end the first part of the season.  The Tigers have gone 2-4 and will play UPEI this weekend at the Dalplex and look to end the first part of the season with a two game winning streak.

NPH Top Performers

Dalhousie

  • Hassan Abdullahi – 23pts, 3rebs, 2stls
  • Devon Stedman – 14pts, 10rebs, 3asts, 2stls
  • William Yengue – 9pts, 11rebs, 2asts

Saint Mary’s

  • Jordan Lee – 28pts, 6rebs, 4asts, 6stls,
  • Harry Ezenibe – 5pts, 15rebs, 2asts, 2blks
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