X-Men earn come-from-behind victory over Axemen

Photo courtesy Andrew Barkhouse
Photo courtesy Andrew Barkhouse

Antigonish, N.S. - On the strength of a 10-0 run to finish the game, the StFX X-Men (5-3) earned an 86-80 victory over the visiting Acadia Axemen (4-4) Friday night in Atlantic University Sport (AUS) basketball action at the Oland Centre.

Senior point guard Davonte Provo (East Preston, NS) hooped the winning points - a three-pointer with one minute remaining in the fourth quarter - to catapult the X-Men.

Subway player of the game Tristen Ross (Truro, NS) scored 11 of his 19 points in that pivotal period, helping the home team rally from a 10-point deficit.

In a see-saw battle, which included 15 lead changes, the Axemen took a 22-21 advantage after the first quarter.

Both teams hit a handful of three-pointers in the opening frame, while X-Men freshman Azaro Roker (Nassau, Bahamas) brought the crowd to its feet with a high-flying put-back dunk.

Early in the second quarter, buoyed by consecutive shots from beyond the arc by Kyle Arsenault (Fredericton, NB) and Mitchell Tempro (Three Mile Plains, NS), the Axemen jumped to a 38-32 edge, and extended the lead to as many as nine points.

In the final minutes before halftime, Kevin Bercy (Kanata, ON) meshed six straight points and took a key charge, as the X-Men trimmed the deficit to 45-42 heading to the locker room.

In the first three minutes of the third quarter, Tempro scored six points to help put the Axemen up 53-44.

After a swooping left-handed dunk from Acadia player of the game Erik Nissen (Quispamsis, NB), the visitors were up 57-48.

A short time later, guard Nick De Palma (Bedford, NS) drained a three-pointer to make it 60-50 for the Axemen.

After back-to-back baskets from senior guard Julius Antoine (Woodbridge, ON) and a steal and subsequent fast-break basket from rookie Justin Andrew (Hamilton, ON), the X-Men pulled within four points.

The Axemen responded, taking their largest lead (14), after an A.J. Simmonds (Dartmouth, NS) jumper from downtown.

Acadia led 71-61 after three quarters.

After a 7-0 spurt from the X-Men, including five straight points from Ross, they sliced the lead to 75-71.

With three minutes remaining in regulation, the Axemen led 80-72, but after an acrobatic drive and right-handed lay-in by Ross, StFX was only down by two points.

After the Axemen were unsuccessful to regain the lead, after the Provo three made it 82-80, Ross helped seal the deal with a pair of free throws.

Andrew finished with 15 points, off the bench, along with two rebounds, two assists and one steal.

Bercy chipped in 13 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, two steals and two blocked shots, while Antoine added 12 points, three rebounds, three assists and one steal.

Provo finished with seven points, four rebounds and four assists, while Cameron Walker (Dallas, TX) contributed eight points and a team-high 10 rebounds.

Nissen led Acadia with a team-high 15 points, while completing the double-double with a game-high 12 rebounds.

Arsenault finished with 13 points, nine rebounds and four assists, while De Palma and Tempro also scored in double digits, with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

The X-Men will return to the court Saturday, Jan. 7, when they host the UNB Varsity Reds. The Axemen will be back in action Tuesday, Jan. 10, when they visit the Dalhousie Tigers in Halifax.

Tip-off for both match-ups is 8 p.m.