Antigonish, NS – The UNB Varsity Reds (14-6) wrapped up their AUS regular season with an 85-74 victory over the StFX X-Men (8-11) Friday evening at the StFX Oland Centre.
After an exciting first quarter that saw the Varsity Reds get out to an 18-15 lead, the visitors outpaced the X-Men 22-13 in the second quarter to establish a 12-point lead at halftime, 40-28.
X-Men had coach Steve Konchalski commented, "I was disappointed with our effort in the first half. We got ourselves into a hole because we really didn't follow our game plan."
"The second half I felt we came back and battled hard, but at that point UNB had control of the game and it was a matter of too little, too late."
The X-Men outscored the Varsity Reds 46-45 in the second half but were unable to overcome the lead UNB had built up.
Varsity Reds head coach Brent Baker was pleased with his team's performance, commenting "This was anybody's game and I was happy our guys made some shots and pulled out a victory here. It's never an easy place to win and we wanted to be playing well going into the playoffs."
"I was especially happy with our bench tonight, they came in and played well."
Hess Mayele (Montreal, QC) and Jesse Kendall (Guelph, ON) scored 18 and 15 points, respectively off the Varsity Reds bench that contributed 36 points on the night.
Javon Masters (Kitchener, ON) scored a game-high 27 points for UNB and added five rebounds, a pair of assists and three steals. Subway player of the game Dylan Baker (Narre Warren South, AUS) scored 12 points and had six boards.
Cameron Walker (Dallas, TX) was the top X-Men scorer with 20 points and nine rebounds, with Kevin Bercy (Kanata, ON) pulling in a double-double night with 16 points and 15 rebounds. Akil Charles (Glenn Dale, MD) added 11 points for X.
Looking ahead to the Subway AUS Championship next weekend, March 3-5 at the Halifax Scotiabank Centre, the second place Varsity Reds have already secured a first round bye.
"The bye is huge because you're not going to play three games over the weekend," commented Coach Baker. "It is definitely worth it."
The X-Men have one game remaining on the AUS regular season schedule prior to the championship, they will host UPEI (6-13) Saturday evening in an 8:00 pm matchup at the StFX Oland Centre as they look to snap a five-game losing skid.
The Subway AUS Championship schedule will be announced on Monday.