Antigonish, NS – The defending AUS champion STFX X-Men defeated the UNB REDS 90-86 in the first game of AUS regular season competition Friday night on Coach K Court at the STFX Saputo Centre.
Brandon Laryea (Crawley, UK) opened the game with a pair of three pointers for the REDS, but the X-Men went on a nine-point run and took a 16-9 lead midway through the quarter.
They outscored the visitors 29-20 as Dondre Reddick (Antigonish, NS) scored nine points in the opening quarter for STFX.
The X-Men maintained their lead in a lower scoring second quarter. Matt Pennell (St. John's, NL) nailed a three-pointer early on to extend the STFX lead by 14 points.
STFX edged the REDS in scoring 15-14 in the second frame to lead 44-34 at half.
Reddick was held scoreless in the second quarter but Gatluak James (Windsor, ON) and Jeremiah Usiosefe (Hamilton, ON) each scored eight points in the opening half for the X-Men. Laryea had eight for the REDS.
UNB mounted a comeback in the third quarter, going on a nine-point run to close the gap to three points, 46-43, in the opening three minutes of play. After a STFX timeout, the home squad tried to regroup but the REDS kept it close.
The teams continued to exchange baskets and UNB tied it up at 51 points apiece with just over four minutes to play.
The close play continued as STFX closed out three quarters with a 67-62 lead, despite being outscored 28-23 in the quarter.
STFX built up a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, though the REDS did not back down and chipped away at the lead. They made it exciting down the stretch, trailing by a point, 82-81 with just over two minutes to play.
The X-Men were able to hold them off in the final minute and played out the 90-86 win.
Reddick earned player of the game honours for the X-Men, finishing with 25 points on the night.
Marcus Barnes (Kitchener, ON) was the REDS player of the game, scoring a game high 26 points. Vegas Evans (Brampton, ON) scored 14 off the UNB bench and Javordo Mitchell (Woodbridge, ON) scored 12 and had nine rebounds.
Replying for STFX, Bennet Grumbach (Toronto, ON) contributed 12 off the bench and had seven rebounds. Usiosefe finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.
The same two teams will be back in action on Coach K Court tomorrow afternoon in a 4:00 pm tip-off.
Recap courtesy Krista McKenna, STFX Athletics