ANTIGONISH - The Dalhousie Tigers defeated the host StFX X-Men 82-79 to capture the 39th annual StFX Invitational basketball tournament, presented by Pizza Delight, Saturday night at Oland Centre.
In the first quarter, the visitors jumped to a 15-4 advantage, led by the play of fifth-year senior Sven Stammberger (Halifax, NS) and freshman Keevan Venoit (Port Williams, NS), who drained a three-pointer.
The X-Men chiselled away at the double-digit deficit and cut it to 22-18, on a deep Davonte Provo three-pointer, before the end of the quarter.
The Tigers, on the strength of a 9-0 run, took a 31-18 lead early in the second quarter, culminated by an Alex Carson (Lower Sackville, NS) shot from downtown.
Led by five consecutive points, including a steal and dunk and old fashioned three-point effort from All-Canadian forward Kevin Bercy (Kanata, ON), the X-Men made a 16-3 burst to knot the contest 34-34.
The Tigers led 42-37 at halftime.
In the third quarter, the visitors jumped to 54-44 advantage before a Tristen Ross (Truro, NS) three-point play cut the deficit to seven. On a buzzer-beating shot from beyond the arc by Ryan Harnett (Corner Brook, NL), the Tigers led 63-53 after the third quarter.
The X-Men, sparked by five points and a behind-the-back assist by Justin Andrew (Hamilton, ON), rallied to start the fourth quarter with a 12-2 run to tie the game 65-65.
In the final three minutes, the X-Men took their first lead - 75-73 - on a pull-up jumper by Jason Hatch (Arzo, SUI). The Tigers answered with Venoit draining an open three to give them an 80-77 edge, a lead they would not relinquish.
An Antoine three in the final seconds rimmed out and a desperation shot from Ross in the corner, coming with less than one second remaining, off an inbound pass, came up short.
Stammberger, the tournament MVP, scored a game-high 21 points, while all-star selection Venoit hit for 16. Antoine and Bercy, also tournament all-stars, topped the X-Men with 20 and 19 points, respectively. D'Adrian Allen (Toronto, ON) of the UPEI Panthers and Osman Omar (Mississauga, ON) of the Cape Breton Capers rounded out the invitational all-star team.
The X-Men and Tigers will tip-off the Atlantic University Sport regular season Wednesday, Nov. 1 at Dalplex in Halifax. Game time is 8 p.m.