The St. Thomas men’s basketball team is on a roll, having now won four games in a row. Tuesday the Tommies faced off against Mount Allison, who at the time was a spot ahead of them in the standings. The game was close, but in the end the Tommies prevailed, winning 62-58.
Saturday STU took on the Dalhousie Agricultural College Rams, who are last in the ACAA conference. The Tommies executed plays on both ends of the court, and came away with a 95-56 victory. Corey Delong was key in both games, racking up a team high 17 points against Mount A and 21 points with seven assists against the Rams.
“It was big for us, we needed that win,” said Delong about their win over Mount A. “The league is pretty tight between Mount A and Mount Saint Vincent and us right now, so any games we get above those guys is important.”
Crandall and Holland Collage sit atop the ACAA, with both teams being ranked nationally. The Tommies want to make sure they are in the best position possible when they get to playoffs, so as to get a favourable matchup going in.
“Both Crandall and Holland are both good teams but I think there’s one of those teams we would rather play above the other,” said Delong. He would rather play Crandall, despite them being higher in the standings.
“I think at the end of the season Holland will be above Crandall, and I’d rather play Crandall in the semi-finals then Holland.”
The Tommies would only need to make it to the finals in order to get to nationals, as the ACAA has a wild card spot this year. The biggest problem for STU has been injuries. Despite winning five of their six games in 2014, they have constantly had players sitting out.
“Injuries are still plaguing us,” said Tommies head coach Dwight Dickinson on Saturday. “We’ve got three guys not dressed today… we have another guy playing injured and we have another guy playing sick. It’s flu season, and it’s injury time.”
For now, Dickinson and his team will be looking closely at their playoff opponents, trying to get a good sense of how the other teams play. St. Thomas has seven games left in the season, including games against Mount Saint Vincent, Mount Allison, Crandall, and Holland College.
“The experience of playing the league is to get yourself use to what teams do, and to be on top of things when they do them so you can defend it,” said Dickinson.
The Tommies’ next big test will come Sunday, as they travel to Halifax to play Mount Saint Vincent. STU beat MSVU on Jan. 12, but playing in their gym could be a different story. Corey Delong thinks that one of the biggest things they need to work on his handling the basketball.
“We just have to be strong with the ball,” said Delong. “That’s our biggest problem right now. We give teams a lot of chances to score on us, and we take a lot of chances for us to score away when we turn the ball over.”