Halifax, NS – The STFX X-Men punched their ticket to the AUS semifinal game with a 94-76 victory over the UNB Reds Thursday afternoon at Scotiabank Centre in the Subway AUS championship tournament.
The second seeded X-Men got out to a slim 17-16 lead over the seventh seeded Reds after the first quarter of play. The score was close throughout the opening 10 minutes in back and forth action.
Bennett Grumbach provided a spark off the X-Men bench as he drained a three-pointer a minute and a half into the second quarter to give X a 22-16 advantage.
The Reds defense stepped up and they took a one-point lead, 29-28 with four minutes left in the half as the second was another close quarter of action.
The X-Men started to pull ahead late in the quarter and were up by six, 42-36 with a minute left.
An Avan Nava three-pointer late in the half gave the X-Men a 45-38 lead at the halftime break.
The X-Men maintained their lead to open the third quarter but the Reds clawed their way back and were trailing by a point, 51-50 four minutes in.
STFX regained their momentum and were up 59-50 with just under three minutes in the third. They continued to control the offense and held a 67-50 lead after Jamie White drained a three-pointer.
The X-Men outscored the Reds 26-17 in the third frame to build up a 71-55 lead after 30 minutes.
The X advantage grew to 20 points in the final quarter as the Reds were unable to close the gap.
The X-Men played out the victory in the fourth quarter, punching their ticket to the AUS semifinal on Saturday night.
Subway player of the game Justin Andrew scored a game high 20 points and added four rebounds, five assists and one steal. Avan Nava scored 19 points and had five assists for the X-Men, while veteran forward Jamie White scored 17 off the bench.
Thomas Legallais led the Reds with 18 points, while Doumbouya had a double-double night with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Tyrell Leotaud added 13.
X-Men head coach Tyrell Vernon noted after the game that "I think the defensive energy was there. We needed to get stops in order to get out and run. It's one thing to say run but it doesn't work that way, you need to get the stops first and then you can run."
"I thought the guys did a great job in the second half, making things tough, shooting over top of people, and that's what we're going to have to do to win this."
STFX will await the winner of the Cape Breton-UPEI game on Friday night to determine their opponent. Tip-off is 8:30 pm at Scotiabank Centre.
Looking ahead to the next game Coach Vernon commented, "We have to take care of our bodies, get the water, hydrate. Our sports performance and therapy team have done a great job up until this point, so just prepare our bodies as much as possible and be prepared for whichever team comes our way."
Courtesy Krista McKenna, STFX Athletics