Three overtime thrillers begin AUS Championship weekend

The Atlantic University Sport (AUS) Championship is off to a thrilling start, as the first three games all went into overtime.

The University of New Brunswick Reds defeated Memorial University of Newfoundland Sea-Hawks 77-76 in overtime for the women’s first quarterfinal. Last year’s tournament MVP Jayda Veinot had 27 points in the win.

“We weren’t necessarily as dialled into our details as we needed to be. I think we made it a bit of a tougher game than we would have liked to. However, a win’s a win here, so we’re excited,” said Veinot.

Veinot said even though the Reds are a relatively young team, she hopes her championship experience will be a difference maker for the Reds title hopes this weekend.

“We have a pretty young team to be playing in this atmosphere. I think just having someone who’s been here and has composure in these moments; I think that can go a long way,” said Veinot. “The girls stepped up tonight; I don’t think they needed me to lead them anywhere. It was a team effort.”

Katie Butts gave the Reds an outstanding overall game with 16 points and 17 rebounds.

UNB’s bench proved valuable, with 26 bench points to Memorial’s 7. 

Memorial fought hard as Alana Short scored 22 points, and teammate Inés Salat Margarit had 19 points and 14 rebounds. The Sea-Hawks had two chances to win the game. One chance came with eight seconds left on the missed free throw, and the second chance was a look under the basket at the end of overtime.

UNB will take on Veinot’s former team, the Acadia University Axewomen in the semi-final.

CBU Capers down UNB Reds, advance to semis

The Cape Breton University Capers defeated UNB in overtime 95-89 for the first AUS men’s basketball quarterfinal of the day.

UNB got hot early, with AUS Rookie of the Year Marcus Barnes putting on a clinic in the first quarter with 15 points. He finished with a team high 31 points. 

However, the third quarter was the difference maker as CBU outscored the Reds 24-12.

CBU forward Chris Ruta hit the game-tying layup to send the game to overtime with four seconds left. Then in overtime, Ruta hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 35 seconds left to put the Capers up by two points. 

“I don’t really think about it. I just play; that’s what I do. I have faith in god, and he’s got us here,” said Ruta.

The 2021-2022 AUS MVP Osman Omar scored 21 points and dished out 5 assists in the overtime victory. He said the team is used to adversity.

“We knew we had to go one step at a time and one possession at a time. I feel at the start of the game; we had to get the jitters out. We’re used to adversity this whole year; this is nothing new to us,” said Omar.

The Capers now face the St. Francis Xavier University X-Men in the semi-final.

Ruta said it’s going to be a battle but believes his team will be ready.

“They’re tough, but we’ve played them before and won a game, so we know what that feels like. We were also down by 20, came back, so we’re just going to come in and play our game, and we’ll see how that goes,” said Ruta.

UPEI Panthers defeat CBU Capers

The University of Prince Edward Island Panthers defeated CBU 71-67 in overtime for the second matchup of AUS women’s basketball quarterfinal action.

Aiden Rainford had 14 points and 10 rebounds in the victory for UPEI.

“I think we did a lot of good things today. Obviously, we have some things to fix, but I’m really proud of us overall. We stuck to our gameplan,” said Rainford.

UPEI will take on the second-seeded Saint Mary’s University Huskies in the semi-final.

“I think CBU did their best, and it pushed us to be our best; because of that, I think we will be way better tomorrow,” said Rainford.

Samantha Zoffranieri poured in 17 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for UPEI. UPEI’s bench outscored CBU’s by 1o points.

CBU was able to force overtime with an intentionally missed free throw and a putback layup. However, after a tough AUS finals loss last season against Acadia, the Capers head out of this years tournament in the quarterfinal. 

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