(Antigonish, N.S.) - Despite a feverish fourth-quarter rally, the StFX X-Men (0-4) dropped a 81-71 decision to the Acadia Axemen (2-1) in their home opener of the AUS basketball season Friday night at Oland Centre.
The X-Men, who trailed by 19 points at the start of the final 10-minute period (72-53), cut the Axemen lead to 76-69 with less than two minutes remaining, after Julius Antoine (Woodbridge, ON) completed an old-fashioned three-point play - the hoop and the harm - but they could get no closer.
Half-court pressure defense, and the offense of Antoine, sparked the X-Men rally. They outscored the Axemen 18-9 in the fourth quarter.
Antoine led the X-Men with 16 points, while adding eight rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Kevin Bercy (Kanata, ON) scored a double-double - 11 points and 16 rebounds - for StFX, while chipping in three assists.
Davonte Provo (East Preston, NS) also hit double digits with 10, along with a team-high five assists and one steal.
Jason Hatch (Arzo, Switzerland), who played a key 13 minutes in the late X-Men surge, was named his team's player of the game.
The Axemen, who shot 41.9 per cent from the floor, compared to 35.2 for the X-Men, also held a 45-41 edge in rebounding.
Subway player of the game Kyle Arsenault (Fredericton, NB) meshed a game-high 24 points for the visitors, while adding eight rebounds and one assist.
Erik Nissen (Quispamsis, NB) scored 10 of his 19 points in the first quarter. He also contributed eight rebounds and one assist in the Axemen victory.
Shaquille Smith (North Preston, NS) was the third Acadia player in double figures, with 11.
Guard Ben Miller (Winnipeg, MB) dished out a game-high 11 assists, along with eight points, six rebounds and three steals.
The Axemen led 47-35 at halftime.
The X-Men will be back on the court Wednesday, Nov. 18, when they travel to Wolfville to face the Axewomen, while Saturday, Nov. 21, the Saint Mary's Huskies will visit Oland Centre.
Tip-off for both games is 8 p.m.