Strong second half pushes X-Men past Stingers

File Photo
File Photo

Halifax, NS – The STFX X-Men punched their ticket to the championship game of the Dalhousie Shoveller tournament with a 78-71 semifinal win over the Concordia Stingers Saturday evening at the Dalplex.

The X-Men will meet the McGill Redbirds in the tournament championship game Sunday at 3:00 pm. McGill defeated Waterloo 69-46 in the other semifinal game. Concordia will play Waterloo in the bronze medal game at 11:00 am.


The visiting Concordia Stingers from the RSEQ conference got out to a 24-20 lead after the first quarter, thanks in part to some timely three-point shooting.

Jack Vandenberg hit another three for the Stingers to start second quarter and give them a seven-point advantage.

Concordia maintained a slight lead throughout the second quarter and were up 47-43 over the No. 7 nationally ranked X-Men at halftime.

Sami Jahan netted 19 points for the Stingers in the opening half.

Matt Pennell and David Muenkat each scored eight points apiece for the X-Men.

X-Men assistant coach Tyrone Watson noted at halftime that the X-Men "needed to get back to playing their game, rather than let the Stingers dictate the pace of play."

The halftime pep talk worked as the X-Men turned the game around in the opening minute of the third quarter on consecutive three-pointers by Avan Nava and Bennett Grumbach.

The teams exchanged baskets as the game remained close until Grumbach nailed a three-pointer with a minute and a half left to give the X-Men a five-point lead, 62-57.

Antoine Vernon then sank pair of free throws and layup to give X a nine-point lead, but Jahan sank a three at the buzzer to pull the Stingers back to within six.

The X-Men lead 66-60 after the third quarter as they outscored the Stingers 23-12 in the frame.

The blue and white built up a 12-point lead in the opening two minutes of the fourth quarter.

They kept pace both offensively and on defense for the remainder of the final quarter and did not relinquish the lead as they took the 78-71 game.

Vernon finished with 15 points for the X-Men while Muenkat had a second straight double-double night, scoring 13 and hauling in 10 rebounds. Steven Levnaic added 10 points for STFX.

Jahan finished with a game-high 30 points for the Stingers and had six rebounds, receiving player of the game honours.

The final game versus McGill is slated for a 3:00 pm tip-off at the Dalplex.

The X-Men have won a total of eight Shoveller tournament titles in the 28-year history of the event, the last time coming in 2011-12.  


Recap courtesy Krista McKenna, STFX Athletics