Antigonish, NS – The StFX X-Men earned a 99-91 overtime victory over the Memorial Sea-Hawks Saturday night in exciting AUS action at the StFX Saputo Centre.
In a back-and-forth game that saw several lead changes, the Sea-Hawks were up by 16 late in the third quarter before the X-Men mounted a fourth quarter comeback for the win.
It was the home squad who got out to a 24-20 lead after the first quarter. Avan Nava (Mississauga, ON) and Jaydan Smith (Halifax, NS) each scored seven points for the X-Men, while Cole Long (St. John's, NF) set the early pace for the Sea-Hawks with six points in the opening frame.
The Sea-Hawks edged the X-Men 22-21 in the second quarter as Long continued his sharp shooting including a pair of three-pointers. Daniel Foo (St. John's, NF) also drained a pair of treys as he contributed eight points of the Memorial bench.
The X-Men were up 45-42 with a slim three-point lead at halftime.
The Sea-Hawks turned up the tempo in the third quarter. They had an early seven-point run and Cole continued his strong play, scoring 14 points in the quarter as his squad outpaced the X-Men 33-14. Jason Thompson (St. John's, NF) scored eight as the Sea-Hawks led 75-59 after three.
The X-Men slowly chipped away at the lead in a low scoring fourth quarter and ramped up their defensive game.
They went on a nine-point run with four minutes left in the fourth quarter and closed the gap to five points at 80-75 thanks to the strong play of Nava and Dondre Reddick (Antigonish, NS) down the stretch. Reddick forced key turnovers and Nava sank baskets when called upon.
The X-Men continued their strong defensive play, holding the Sea-Hawks to 10 points in the fourth quarter.
With StFX leading 85-82 with 45 seconds left in regulation, Utsalo missed four free throws, and the Sea-Hawks had a chance to tie with 13 seconds left on the clock and indeed they did as the steady-shooting Long drained a three-pointer with six seconds left to play.
The X-Men were unable to convert on the final play of the game and the 85-85 deadlock sent them to overtime.
StFX went on a six-point run to open the five-minute overtime period. They led 93-89 with a minute and a half left to play, and after running the clock, went up 95-89 on a Nava basket with 36 seconds remaining.
The blue and white hung onto the lead and punctuated the win with a big Azaro Roker (Nassau, Bahamas) slam dunk off a dish from Reddick as the overtime period ran out and the X-Men took home the 99-91 victory.
Nava finished with a team-high 26 points and earned Subway player of the game honours. Roker had a double-double night with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
Andrew scored 13 and dished 11 assists, while Reddick contributed 12 points and seven rebounds and had four steals in the game.
Long had a big night for the Sea-Hawks, scoring 29 points and adding six rebounds. Thompson netted 14 and led the team with six assists, while Emmanuel Ring (St. John's, NF) scored 14 off the Memorial bench and finished the double-double night with 12 rebounds.
The same two teams will be back in action Sunday afternoon on Coach K Court at the StFX Saputo Centre. Tip-off is 3:00 pm.
Courtesy StFX Sports Information