Tommies advance to semifinals in come-from-behind thriller

The Tommies exerted a lot of energy and played catch-up for most of the game, but in the end, it was worth it.

The St. Thomas men’s basketball team played the Mount Saint Vincent Mystics in the first round of playoffs in a do-or-die game at the ACAA playoffs hosted by University of New Brunswick Saint John Seawolves.

The Tommies started out cold, unable to get their offense going. Meanwhile, the Mystics were having no problem getting their shots to fall. After the first quarter MSVU lead STU 23-9.

Then things started to even out. The Tommies chipped away at the lead and got it down to 35-27 at half.

The third quarter looked like the turning point for STU, as they battled back and even took the lead. But just as quickly as they took the lead, it was taken away. Within minutes MSVU had another 10 point lead, and it looked like they were going to keep it.

But the Tommies still didn’t give up. They started chipping away at the lead again.

“It’s a battle. We made a couple shots. They missed a couple shots. It’s a ball game. It’s fun to watch,” said Tommies head coach Dwight Dickinson, who will be retiring after this playoff run.

Then, Dylan Gallant, who had been struggling with his shot earlier in the game, hit the game-tying three with just under five minutes left.

“Coach was telling me to shoot whenever I was open so he gave me a lot of confidence,” said Gallant, who finished with 18 points and player of the game honours.

“We’re a hardworking team and we just knew that no matter how big the hole is, we can always dig it out.”

The Tommies kept that lead right down to the final buzzer, winning the quarter-final game. The Tommies play the Holland College Hurricanes today at 5 p.m.

Dickinson was pleased with how his team responded to the pressure.

“[They are] never-give-up guys, and that work ethic and that character speaks well for those guys. I’m proud of them,” said Dickinson. “It’s March Madness up here in Canada.”