Fredericton, NB- The St. Thomas University Tommies edged the visiting UNB Saint John Seawolves 78-73 in a thrilling matchup Sunday night.
A back and forth game that saw UNBSJ hold lead at the end of the first and third quarters only to see the Tommies fight back to take leads at halftime and the final.
Hunter Gray (Woodstock, NB) paced the Seawolves offence with 21 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists, while veteran Travis Valanne (Miramichi, NB) led a balanced Tommies attack with 18 points.
STU fell behind 29-22 after the first quarter, but that's when rookie Omer Hassan (London, ON) caught fire for the Tommies. Hassan dropped 13 points in the quarter, including nine straight points to give the Tommies a 46-42 lead at halftime.
"He opened up the game for us for sure and really gave us that opportunity to stay in the game," said head coach Scott MacLeod. "Our bench was great tonight."
The Tommies bench outscored the Seawolves 22-2 on the night.
STU held a 58-46 lead with 5:38 left in the third quarter, but the Seawolves went on a 21-0 run to close out the quarter and swing momentum and take a 67-58 lead into the final quarter.
"The hunger these guys have to succeed, and the struggles they have had this season, I think they just said to themselves it's now or never," said MacLeod when asked about what fueled the comeback. "They're back was against the wall and they responded."
Next action for both teams has STU heading to Moncton on Friday, February 1st to take on the Crandall Chargers and the Seawolves will host DAL AC on Saturday the 2nd.