Antigonish, NS – In the second semifinal game at the Pizza Delight X-Men Invitational, the Acadia Axemen held on for an 87-80 victory over the host team StFX X-Men.
The Axemen held off a fourth quarter surge by the X-Men for the win and advance to the tournament championship game on Saturday night at 8:00 pm. They will face Dalhousie in the final, who nipped Cape Breton 76-75 in the first semifinal game.
The X-Men and Capers will tip-off in the consolation final Saturday at 6:00 pm.
Acadia got off to an early lead in the game, outscoring the X-Men 22-15 in the first quarter. Eli Kraushar drained a trio of three-pointers for the Axemen.
The second quarter saw the X-Men draw closer as they were outscored 22-18, down by 11 points at halftime, 44-33. Kraushar continued to lead the Axemen with five points, and Brett Speedy scored five off the bench, giving him nine points in the opening half.
The X-Men had contributions from the majority line-up in the opening half scoring.
The third quarter saw the Axemen outpace the X-Men 24-19 as they built up a 68-52 advantage after 40 minutes of play. Jack Lukusa scored eight points off the bench including a pair of three-pointers.
The X-Men then mounted a fourth quarter comeback. They slowly chipped into the Axemen lead and were trailing by four points at 74-70 with five minutes left to play.
Michael Utsalo and Tom Legallais were key down the stretch as an Utsalo dunk brought them to within two points of the lead.
A Marcus Upshaw three-pointer with just over three minutes to play gave the Axemen back their momentum and they did not let the X-Men get back within five points of the lead for the duration of the game.
Kraushar finished as the game's high scorer with 20 points and added six rebounds. The Axemen had strong contributions from their bench as Lukusa scored 15 and had eight rebounds, Upshaw finished with 13 points and Speedy added 11. Upshaw also had five rebounds and dished seven assists. Forest Mahoney scored 13 for the Axemen and hauled in five boards.
The X-Men were led by Justin Andrews who scored 15 and had four rebounds. Jaydan Smith scored 15 off the X bench and Legallais contributed 11 points, five rebounds and eight assists. Azaro Roker led the X-Men in rebounding with 10 on the night.
StFX will now face Cape Breton in the tournament consolation final Saturday at 6:00 pm while the Axemen advance to the championship game at 8:00 pm against Dalhousie.
Courtesy StFX Sports Information