X-Men edge Panthers by one point as game goes down to the wire

Photo credit Bryan Kennedy
Photo credit Bryan Kennedy

ANTIGONISH, NS - It came down to the wire but the STFX X-Men made it four points in two games with an exciting 71-70 win over the visiting UPEI Panthers in AUS men's basketball action on Sunday afternoon at Coach K Court. The win extended the home win streak for STFX to seven, and pushed the team to the top of the AUS standings.

STFX's Marcus Upshaw (Burlington, ON) was named player of the game, with 13 points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists. Jeremiah Usiosefe (Hamilton, ON) had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Matt Pennell (St. John's, NL) had 11 points off the bench and three rebounds.

For the Panthers, Kamari Scott (Malton, ON) had a huge game, with 24 points and 14 rebounds, while Jace Cooley (East Preston, NS) had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Cameron Brown had 10 points off the bench along with six rebounds.

It was a back and forth first quarter, with the Panthers holding a slim lead late. Then a Cooley triple followed by an Owen Smith (Harvey York County, NB) jumper extended the lead to six with 90 seconds to go. Four straight points from the X-Men made it a two-point game heading into the second quarter.

The teams continued to trade buckets halfway through the quarter, and the lead changed hands a number of times. A late run by the Panthers gave them a six-point lead late in the half, and a Scott triple at the buzzer made it a 44-35 game at halftime.

Bennett Grumbach (Toronto, ON) opened the scoring in the second half for the X-Men, who went on an 8-2 run in the first four minutes. A baseline drive from Koat Thomas (Waterloo, ON) gave the X-Men a lead with three minutes left, but the teams traded buckets and remained close. A Pennell alley-oop to Thomas got the home crowd on their feet with 90 seconds to go, and a buzzer beating slam from Gloire Koua (Brazzaville, Congo) made it a 56-52 game heading into the final quarter.

A 10-4 run in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter made it a 10-point lead for the home team. The Panthers kept fighting though and a three pointer from Scott made it a two-point game with 12 seconds to go. He tried again with two seconds left in the game, but was fouled, leading to three chances from the charity stripe. Scott hit the first two but missed the third and the X-Men came out on top 71-70.

The X-Men return to Coach K Court on Wednesday, January 24, when they will host the Saint Mary's Huskies at 8 p.m. The Panthers are on the road to Wolfville next weekend and will square off with the Acadia Axemen on January 26. 


Recap courtesy Matt Draper, STFX Athletics