X-Men capture home tournament with win over Tigers

Photo credit Albert Banahene
Photo credit Albert Banahene

Antigonish, NS – Led by an electrifying shooting performance from tournament MVP Tristen Ross (Truro, NS), the StFX X-Men captured the 40th annual Pizza Delight X-Men Invitational basketball tournament title with an 81-69 victory over the Dalhousie Tigers, Saturday night on Coach 'K' Court at Oland Centre.

The fourth-year senior guard scored 14 points, including 11 consecutively, during a pivotal third quarter run that erased an eight-point deficit.

Trailing 48-40, after Tigers' big men Sascha Kappos (Miami, FL) and Mike Shoveller (Arnprior, ON) hit back-to-back three-point shots, Ross drained three consecutive attempts from downtown, followed by a sensational lay-up. By the time he meshed his fourth three-pointer of the spurt, the X-Men led 56-48.

In a low-scoring first quarter, the X-Men, keyed by six points from Ross, who finished with 23, took a 10-8 edge. Kappos got off to a fast start for the Tigers, with five, including a hoop from beyond the arc.

The X-Men finished the opening 10 minutes with an 8-2 run to take an 18-10 lead. Freshman Dawson Bungay (Alder Point, CB) scored consecutive lay-ups during that burst, while Azaro Roker (Nassau, Bahamas) chipped in a key shot block and buzzer-beating basket, off a soaring offensive rebound.

In the first two minutes of the second quarter, led by a three-point play and three-pointer from Alex Carson (Lower Sackville, NS), the Tigers knotted the contest 20-20.

The X-Men answered with seven straight points, including three apiece from Thomas Legallais (Cornwall, ON), who scored nine in the quarter, and Justin Andrew (Hamilton, ON).

The Tigers, who outscored the X-Men 30-18 in the second quarter, replied on a couple occasions, including seven consecutive points from Shoveller.

At halftime, the visitors led 40-36.

Early in the third quarter, the Tigers extended their advantage to 48-40, with Kappos and Shoveller, once again, connecting from downtown. That's when the Ross-led 16-0 scoring explosion ignited, which gave the X-Men the aforementioned 56-48 lead.

From there, the teams traded baskets to end the third period, with StFX going up 60-56.

To start the fourth quarter, Andrew got the X-Men off on the right foot with a deep three-pointer, but the Tigers responded with five straight points, including a three-pointer from Jordan Brathwaite (Milton, ON) to make it 63-61.

After an offensive contribution from freshman forward Atik Gilao (Brampton, ON) and a Daniel Passley (Mississauga, ON) slam dunk, the X-Men led 70-63.

After a corner three-pointer from Legallais and back-door lay-up by Andrew, off a nifty feed from Passley, StFX led by double digits – 75-65 – with two minutes remaining in the game.

Legallais finished with 20 points, seven assists, five rebounds and three steals, while Andrew collected 14 points and five assists. Passley also hit double digits, with 10, while adding nine rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Carson led the Tigers with 16, while Shoveller chipped in a double-double – 15 points and 10 rebounds. Xavier Ochu (Milton, ON), off the bench, and Kappos also finished in double figures, with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Along with Ross, who received the Ernie Foshay Memorial Award for MVP, the tournament all-stars included Kemar Alleyne (Toronto, ON) of the Saint Mary's Huskies, Paul Watson (Mississauga, ON) of the Cape Breton University Capers, Kappos, Carson and Legallais.

In the consolation game, the Huskies defeated the Capers 79-61.


StFX Director of Athletics Leo MacPherson presents X-Men co-captains Daniel Passley and Tristen Ross with the tournament championship plaque.