X-Men advance to AUS final with win over Sea-Hawks

Photo credit David Cox
Photo credit David Cox

Halifax, NS – The first place STFX X-Men are on their way to the AUS championship game after defeating the fifth place Memorial Sea-Hawks 86-70 in the semifinal match-up Saturday afternoon at Scotiabank Centre.

X-Men head coach Tyrell Vernon noted that his squad was up for the challenge, "Having a bit of rest for the last few days and having a chance to watch the games, clean up on some things and hone in on our game was beneficial."

AUS first team all-star Dondre Reddick sank the first two baskets of the game to get the X-Men out to an early lead. They built that up to 10-1 in the opening four minutes of play.

The Sea-Hawks stormed back and pulled to within three points, 12-9 with three and a half minutes to play. They took their first lead of the game 13-12, shortly after when Emmanuel Ring drained a three-pointer.

The back and forth action continued and Reddick sank a three just before the first quarter buzzer sounded to give the X-Men a 24-20 edge after 10 minutes.

The blue and white bumped that lead to 10 points at 32-22 four minutes into the second quarter.

A Bennett Grumbach three-pointer with under a minute to play gave the X-Men 43-28 lead. They closed out the half up 43-30 on the Sea-Hawks, who struggled from field goal range, shooting 31.0% in the opening half.

Reddick scored 15 points in the first half for the X-Men, with Grumbach adding 11. Jodick Moudiandambu led the Sea-Hawks with eight points.

The X-Men won the battle of the boards and scored 22 points in the paint, compared to eight for Memorial.

STFX opened up a 20+ point lead midway through the third quarter thanks to consecutive three-pointers from Grumbach and Matt Pennell.

The Sea-Hawks were outscored 25-16 by the X-Men in the quarter as X held a 68-46 lead after 30 minutes.

Despite Memorial outshooting the X-Men 24-18 in the fourth quarter, the deficit was too much for them to overcome and STFX played out the 86-70 victory.

Reddick received the nod as the player of the game, finishing the afternoon with 21 points, along with five rebounds and four assists. Grumbach scored a team-high 26 points for X, while Gatluak James had a double-double game with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Pennell added 10 off the X-Men bench.

Moudiandambu was the leading scorer for the Sea-Hawks with 19 points. Jason Thompson scored 14 and AUS first team all-star Flynn Boardman-Raffet had a double-double game with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

With the win, the X-Men will now await the winner of the Saint Mary's-Dalhousie semi final game for their championship game opponent as they attempt to defend their conference title from last season and win back-to-back banners.

Looking ahead to the championship game, Coach Vernon noted that the most important thing for his team was rest. "We need to rest and take care of our bodies and when the game starts there's nothing left except to bring home the hardware."

Tip-off for the AUS final is set for 4:00 pm Sunday at Scotiabank Centre.


Recap courtesy Krista McKenna, STFX Athletics