Antigonish, NS – The StFX X-Men handed the U SPORTS No. 2 ranked Dalhousie Tigers their first loss of the season Saturday night, earning a close 78-77 victory.
The X-Men avenged a lopsided 97-54 loss to the same Tigers team just two nights ago as they were a different team on Coach K Court.
The game was close throughout the entire night, with neither team holding much of a lead and the game being decided in the final seconds.
The X-Men opened the game on a 10-0 run against the AUS first place Tigers.
Dalhousie battled back and trailed by two points, 24-22 after the first quarter thanks to seven points apiece from Keevan Veinot (Port Williams, NS) and Alex Capson (Lower Sackville, NS).
The second quarter saw X-Men rookie guard Avan Nava (Mississauga, ON) with sharp outside shooting as he drained a trio of three-pointers.
The X-Men held a slim 40-38 lead at half-time after the closely contested first half.
The third quarter was another back-and-forth affair.
The game was tied 52-52 with four minutes left in the quarter after Tigers guard Xavier Ochu (Milton, ON) hit a three-pointer, but Justin Andrew (Hamilton, ON) replied with a three of his own for the X-Men right after.
Andrew scored nine points for StFX as they were up 60-57 at the end of the third quarter.
More close play ensued in the fourth. The X-Men held a five point lead at 70-65 midway through but the Tigers battled back and the game was tied with three and a half minutes to play.
The end-to-end action saw the lead exchange between the teams for the remainder of the game. Veinot and Carson were once again key players for the Tigers, while Nava scored eight points for the X-Men in the final frame.
StFX went up 78-77 on a three-pointer by Nava and were able to hold onto the one-point lead to close out the game.
Nava finished as the game's high scorer with 25 points, including 18 from three-point range. He added six rebounds and earned Subway player of the game honours.
Andrew scored 17 points, Azaro Roker (Nassau, Bahamas) had a double-double night with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Thomas Legallais (Cornwall, ON) netted seven and played a dynamic game, contributing 10 rebounds, five assists and a pair of steals for the X-Men.
Jamie White (Saint John, NB) put in some key minutes off the X-Men bench, particularly in the fourth quarter, playing solid defense and pulling in five rebounds.
For the Tigers, Veinot led the way with 19 points on the night, and also had nine rebounds, six assists and two steals.
Carson scored 13, Ochu had 12 and six rebounds, and Sascha Kappos (Miami, FL) contributed 12 points and eight boards.
The Tigers (9-1) remain in first place in the AUS standings with 26 points. With the win the X-Men improve to 5-5 and are tied for second place with Memorial (5-6) as they each have 12 points.
The Tigers will be back in action on Wednesday, January 15th when they host the Acadia Axemen.
StFX will play the same Acadia squad on the road in Wolfville, NS on Sunday, January 19th.
Courtesy Krista McKenna, StFX Sports Information