Antigonish, NS - The Cape Breton Capers outlasted the StFX X-Men 104-99 in an exciting Saturday night matchup at the StFX Oland Centre. The X-Men are still looking to clinch a spot in the AUS championship while the Capers have already punched their playoff ticket.
The first quarter of play saw the X-Men trail 28-27, despite the Capers controlling the tempo of play. Justin Andrew (Hamilton, ON) made a pair of three-pointers to keep the score close.
The lead would certainly have been larger if not for the play of Brandon Velocci (Brooklyn, NY), who scored 10 points in the frame. He also distinguished himself defensively by drawing two charging fouls. The Mississauga, Ont. duo of Paul Watson and Osman Omar led the way for the Capers and often left the StFX defenders perplexed.
The second quarter saw the Capers extend their lead as they went to the halftime break with a 59-47 advantage. CBU exemplified strong team play throughout the half. Jason Callagan (Sydney, NS) was excellent defensively and hit timely shots. Up front, Shacqier Locke (Sydney, NS) kept the StFX big men quiet.
Azaro Roker (Nassau, Bahamas), just coming back from injury, was thrown back into the fiercest of fires against a Capers team that was cooking with gas.
The third quarter saw both teams tighten up defensively. The three-point shots that had fallen so easily for both teams were no longer there for the taking. Rookie Atik Gilao (Brampton, ON) continued his fine freshman form with 10 points for the X-Men.
For the Capers, Reuben Edwards (Baltimore, MD) led the way as he hit two big three-point shots to keep StFX at bay. The Capers led by as much as 15 in the quarter and looked to have the game on cruise control as X had no answers to their efficient play. The CBU lead was 79-66 after three quarters.
The fourth quarter saw Thomas Legallais (Cornwall, ON) provide the inspiration for his team to reduce the Capers lead that was as large as 19 with 5:33 remaining.
StFX called time out with just under seven minutes to play in the quarter and coming out of the time-out the air seemed to go out of the Oland Centre gym. StFX were first to draw a breath, and proceeded to blow the Capers away for the final minutes of the game. Key shots were made Jayden Smith (Halifax, NS), but it was Legallais who harried the smooth operating Capers into turnovers and disrupted their offensive sets.
With 33 seconds to go the lead was reduced to three, but StFX would come no closer. As time ticked down, Callaghan rebounded an Andrew three-point miss and closed StFX's chances of victory.
For his 17 point effort, Callaghan received Subway player of the game honours. Omar led all CBU players with 27 points on the night. He also had six rebounds and dished eight assists. Locke scored 16 and Edwards contributed 12 off the Capers bench.
Atik Gilao led the X-Men with 21 points while StFX player of the game Smith scored 17. Passley netted 16 and had five rebounds, while Andrew and Legallais each contributed 15 points apiece.
Next on the AUS schedule sees the Capers host the UPEI Panthers next Friday, February 22nd in Sydney. The X-Men will host the same Panthers squad the following night in Antigonish.
Courtesy Bart Sears, StFX Sports Information