By Sean Fitz-Gerald
HALIFAX — St. Mary’s Huskies beat the top-ranked Alberta Golden Bears 73-69 to win the CIAU men’s basketball tournament in their hometown.
The Huskies entered the tournament ranked seventh out of eight teams. But wins over favourites Western and McMaster int he opening rounds gave the Huskies a berth into the championship game.
The score was never separated by more than five points as the teams traded baskets through the first 40 minutes.
Down by a pair with less than a minute to go, St. Mary’s Lloyd Thomas sank a clutch three-point shot to help the Huskies take the lead. But the Golden Bears tied the game late and the teams were knotted at 69 at the end of regulation.
As the teams headed into overtime, cheers from St. Mary’s 9,000 fans filled Halifax’s Metro Centre.
Huskies centre Cory Janes was the hero of the night, sinking on of two free throws in the extra five-minute frame, putting his team up 70-69. St. Mary’s added three more points to capture its 13th national title.
The Huskies’ presence in the tournament drew more than 36,000 people to the three-day event, setting a CIAU championship attendance record.