Antigonish, N.S. – The home team earned a spot in the 38th annual X-Men Basketball Invitational championship game with an 83-76 win over the Holland College Hurricanes Friday evening at Oland Centre.
After a traditional three-point play – the hoop and the harm – from Cameron Walker (Dallas, TX), the X-Men led 15-10, midway through the first 10 minutes.
With less than two minutes remaining, the Hurricanes knotted the contest 18-18 on a strong drive by Jayden Nordin (Halifax, NS).
The X-Men led 23-22 after the first quarter.
Sparked by the energy of first-year forward Azaro Roker (Nassau, Bahamas), including a breakaway dunk, StFX made an 8-0 run to take a 31-22 advantage.
Midway through the second quarter, X-Men player of the game Akil Charles (Glenn Dale, MD) boosted the lead to 36-26.
Holland College sliced the deficit in half, keyed by an old-fashioned three-point play from Trenity Burdine (Reading, Pennsylvania), his team's player of the game.
Charles restored a nine-point X-Men lead with consecutive baskets.
The Hurricanes answered with five straight points, with Travis Adams (Halifax, NS) completing a three-point play, after muscling an interior hoop over Kevin Bercy (Kanata, ON) of the X-Men, while Nordin collected a steal and basket to make it 40-36.
Keyed by back-to-back threes from freshman guard Justin Andrew (Hamilton, ON), the X-Men took a 46-38 edge at halftime.
In the third quarter, the teams traded points in the opening minutes.
The X-Men took their biggest lead (12), when Tristen Ross (Truro, NS) sandwiched a baseline jumper between two thunderous put-back dunks from Roker, off StFX shot attempts, to make it 56-44.
Off a three-point shot and three-point play from Adams, the Hurricanes finished on a 12-3 surge to cut the X-Men edge to 59-56, after three quarters.
Early in the fourth quarter, on a basket from Roosevelt Whyley (Nassau, Bahamas), the Hurricanes took their first advantage, since the first quarter, at 62-61.
The contest remained close in the final minutes of regulation, with the X-Men eventually pulling away for the close win, on the power of free-throwing shooting and a key three-point play by Bercy.
For Holland College, Adams led the way, with 19 points, while Burdine (17), Nordin and Maurice Colley (Dartmouth, NS), off the bench, with 13 apiece, also had double figures.
Antoine led the X-Men, with 17 points, while Charles added 16. Bercy and Andrew also hit double digits, with 11 each.
With the loss, the Hurricanes will play the Cape Breton University Capers in the consolation game Saturday, beginning at 6 p.m.
With the win, the X-Men will battle the rival Saint Mary's Huskies for the tournament championship. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.
Huskies defeat Capers at StFX X-Men Basketball Invitational
Antigonish, N.S. – The Saint Mary's Huskies punched their ticket to the 38th Annual X-Men Basketball Invitational championship game with an 84-74 win over the Cape Breton University Capers Friday evening at Oland Centre.
The Capers started the game on an 11-3 spurt, keyed by open dunks down low by Kyle Hankins (Burlington, ON) and Christian Affolter (Neuenegg, SUI).
As part of a 15-2 run, the Huskies battled back to take their first lead, on a breakaway lay-up by Theon Reefer (Toronto, ON).
On a last-second pull-up jumper by Kemar Alleyne (Scarborough, ON), the Huskies led 22-18 after one quarter.
Midway through the second quarter, the Huskies took a 31-24, on a put-back lay-up of his own miss by Alleyne.
Culminated by a three-pointer from Jack MacAulay (Charlottetown, PEI), off a dazzling dish from Kenny Jean-Louis (Montreal, QC), the Capers regained the lead at 35-33, after an 11-2 burst.
At the half, the teams were deadlocked 37-37.
MacAulay and Alleyne led their respective teams with 12 points apiece.
In the first two minutes of the third quarter, the Capers took a 46-41 advantage, sparked by another MacAulay shot from downtown.
After falling behind 50-45, midway through the quarter, the Huskies went on a 17-5 run, ignited by an acrobatic lay-up by Brian Rouse (Mississauga, ON) and the interior play of Reefer, to take a 62-55 lead into the final quarter.
In the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, the Huskies extended their edge to 68-59, on the strength of back-to-back three pointers from their player of the game Kordeiro James (Woodbridge, ON).
With less than five minutes left in regulation, after a baseline jumper from Reefer and great defense from Marquis Clayton (Halifax, NS), which helped create a Rouse basket, the Huskies took their largest lead – 77-63.
MacAulay, with another three-point shot, cut the Caper deficit to 79-70, but they could get no closer.
Jean-Louis led Cape Breton, with 18 points, while Alleyne collected a game-high 20.
With the loss, the Capers will play the Holland College Hurricanes in the consolation game Saturday, beginning at 6 p.m.
With the win, the Huskies will battle the host StFX X-Men for the tournament championship. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.