X-Men squeeze out one-point victory over Reds

Photo credit James West
Photo credit James West

(FREDERICTON, NB) Despite a heavy lead for half the game, the UNB REDS fell 67-66 to the Atlantic University Sport No.1 ranked STFX X-Men Friday night at the Richard J. Currie Center.

Javardo Mitchell (Woodbridge, ON) led the REDS with 15 points and seven rebounds. Eden Otshudi (Hamilton, ON) came close behind with 12 points, both came off the bench.

Dondre Reddick (Antigonish, NS) locked in with 21 points, leading the X-Men.

The home team ran out with an early 6-0 lead. The X-Men found their first basket with a layup made by Jeremiah Usiosefe (Hamilton, ON) almost three minutes in.

The REDS sealed a 12-point lead late in the quarter with a fading jump shot from Mitchell and UNB finished the quarter on top 25-11.

Momentum carried into the second quarter for the REDS. 

Norm Burry (Grafton, NB) made an impressive layup, battling through multiple X-Men under the net, pushing the REDS to a 38-21 lead late in the second.

Despite some push by the X-Men, the REDS looked dominant, finishing the half with a 40-28 lead.

The X-Men came storming back after the half, closing in on the REDS with a three-point jump shot from Usiosefe, bringing his team within two points of UNB, who led 50-48 with under two minutes left in the quarter.

"We had a great first half," said REDS' head coach Joe Salerno. "We defended well in the first half. Their zone really hurt us in the second half. I thought we competed. Certainly, there was no quit, but for us, it's got to be about putting four quarters together, something we've struggled with all year."

The REDS held their lead, despite the X-Men trimming their 12-point deficit to just one.

UNB finished the quarter ahead 51-50.

In the final quarter, X scored first, taking the lead for the first time in the game 52-51.

With emotions on the court running high, play became physical, resulting in technical fouls and the ejection of Otshudi, one of the REDS leading scorers.

Burry boosted the REDS, nailing a three-pointer with ease, bringing his team within three points of the X-Men.

A clutch lay-up by Mitchell brought the REDS within two points with 30 seconds left in the game.

Then, a fraction of a second before the final buzzer, Mitchell was awarded two free throws.

He made just one and STFX held on to win the game 67-66.

"A win is a win, but that was a tough one," acknowledged X-Men head coach Tyrell Vernon. "It's been playoff basketball like that, for us, for a couple of weeks now. They challenged us in the first half, and we struggled. I thought we played a great second half and were able to counter them well."

"We need to get the guys some rest and be ready for tomorrow," Vernon added. "We expect the same thing from them and more tomorrow.

The REDS and X-Men finish their weekend series on Saturday. Tip-off is at 4:00pm.


Recap courtesy Madison Tucker/for UNB Athletics