Panthers claim last-second victory over X-Men

Photo courtesy Dylan Lawrence
Photo courtesy Dylan Lawrence

Antigonish, NS - The visiting UPEI Panthers (4-7) defeated the first place StFX X-Men (7-4) 95-94 in a last-second thriller in Atlantic University Sport basketball action Saturday night at the Oland Centre. 

Tyler Scott (Halifax, NS) drained the game-winning turnaround jumper over two defenders with one second left in regulation time.

With less than four minutes left in the fourth quarter, after a pair of Bercy baskets, the X-Men led 87-83. After Dut gave the Panthers a one-point lead, with under 90 seconds remaining, the X-Men answered when Antoine fed Ross for a fast break lay-up to make it 92-91.

With less than 20 seconds left, Antoine drove and scored to make it 94-91 in favour of X.

After being fouled before the ball was inbounded, Scott then swished both free throws to slice the lead to one. Because the X-Men infraction was called unsportsmanlike, the Panthers kept possession to set up Scott's heroics.

To start the game, the X-Men led 16-10 after the opening six minutes - keyed by nine early points from Kevin Bercy (Kanata, ON), including a three-pointer. With a Julius Antoine (Woodbridge, ON) three, StFX was up 19-10.

On the strength of three-point plays from Jake Kendrick (Wolfville, NS) and Lorenzo Parker (New Minas, NS), the Panthers trimmed the X-Men lead to 22-18.

After the first quarter, StFX led 26-20.

Early in the second quarter, both teams continued hot shooting from three-point range. After Antoine hit one of those baskets, the X-Men led 39-29.

With three minutes left in the period, Antoine completed an old fashioned three-point play, which made it 46-34 for the home side.

Led by a buzzer-beating jump shot and dazzling drive and kick-out from Amin Suleman (Toronto, ON), for a Kendrick three-pointer, the Panthers completed a 10-2 spurt to cut the X-Men edge to 48-44 at halftime.

In the first two minutes of the third quarter, the Panthers - led by Tyler Scott with five points - made a 11-2 run to take a 55-50 advantage.

After Shavon Gayle (Windsor, ON) completed a three-point play, the Panthers led 62-51.

Back-to-back threes from guards Tristen Ross (Truro, NS) and Justin Andrew (Hamilton, ON) keyed a 13-2 answer from StFX, which tied the contest 64-64.

The Panthers led 73-72 after three quarters. 

Early in the fourth quarter, the X-Men regained the lead - 76-75 - on a drive and lay-up by Antoine.

After consecutive threes from Mark Matheson (Summerside, PEI) and Dut Dut (Otfawa, ON), the Panthers took an 81-76 edge. Midway through the final quarter, after an Antoine three-point shot, the teams were knotted 83-83.

The close scoring continued down the stretch for the final five minutes of play, eventually leading to Scott's game-winning basket.

Scott and Dut led the Panthers, with 19 points apiece, while Parker (14), Kendrick (14) and Matheson (13) also hit for double figures. Matheson added seven rebounds and four assists, while Suleman dished out six assists.

Bercy finished with a game-high 23 points, while completing the double-double with 12 rebounds. Antoine finished with 19, along with nine rebounds and three assists. Ross, with 19, and Andrew (10) also reached double digits. 

Scott was named the Subway player of the game, while Antoine earned top player for X.

The X-Men will be back on the court Saturday, Jan. 21, when they visit the Memorial Sea-Hawks in St. John's, NL, for an 8 p.m. NST start.

The Panthers will return to action Friday, Jan. 27, when they host the Acadia Axemen in Charlottetown. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.