HALIFAX, NS – After beating the No. 5 ranked Dalhousie Tigers in a home-and-home sweep last week, the U SPORTS No. 10 ranked Acadia Axemen fell short to the StFX X-Men, edged out 70-68 at the Scotiabank Centre, their first loss of the regular season.
The game was played in front of over 2400 fans in a basketball showcase, prior to the Canada – Bahamas game.
The Axemen grabbed a quick lead on the X-Men in the opening minutes of the first quarter. The lead was short lived as StFX went to work compiling a 7-0 run to tie the game at nine.
Erik Nissen created a 16-11 lead off of a rare three point basket and a following layup, but StFX replied with another 7-0 run that was capped with a three-pointer by Tristen Ross to give the X-Men an 18-16, and an eventual 28-22 lead after one quarter.
StFX's largest lead of 17 points came at the 2:29 mark of the second quarter on a Justin Andrew basket from the distant arc.
Trailing 52-40 after one half, the Axemen drew on the play of big men Erik Nissen and Rhys Larry in the paint to close the gap to 66-60 for the X-Men after an 8-0 run. With 35 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Nick De Palma drained his fifth three-point basket of the night to close the X-Men lead to 68-63.
The final quarter saw 25 points total scored by both teams. The Axemen narrowed the X lead to 76-75 on two made free throws by Nissen.
One of two Nissen free throws and a Ben Miller layup with a minute remaining in the game, closed the margin to 80-78, but it was not enough for the tie as Acadia struggled to force the game to overtime.
The Axemen led in most statistical categories except points on turnovers, where the X-Men picked up 24 compared to Acadia's 15. Acadia had 22 turnovers versus StFX's 14.
Nissen had a game high 26 points, while teammate Nick De Palma worked the distant arc for 18 points and a 22-point total. Nissen and Larry dominated the boards with 11 and 10 rebounds respectively.
The Axemen (5-1) travel to UPEI on Saturday to take on the Panthers, while the X-Men (2-4) host the Cape Breton Capers, also on Saturday. Tip-off for both games is 8:00 pm and each are worth four points in the standings.
Courtesy Acadia Sports Information