Halifax, NS – The StFX X-Men are off to the AUS championship game after defeating the UNB Reds 84-77 in the AUS semifinal Saturday night at Scotiabank Centre.
A strong second quarter saw the X-Men build up a 46-34 lead which they were able to maintain throughout the second half en route to the win.
Subway player of the game Avan Nava (Mississauga, ON) scored 20 points for the X-Men, as did fellow AUS all-star Azaro Roker (Nassau, Bahamas).
The X-Men held an early 8-4 lead in the game but a Marcus Masters (Kitchener, ON) three pointer brought it to 8-7 four and a half minutes in.
UNB took their first lead of the game 14-13, with a three from Chris Spurrell (Quispamsis, NB) but Dondre Reddick (Antigonish, NS) replied for X with a three-pointer of his own to keep the game close.
The quarter closed out knotted at 22-22. Masters scored nine for the Reds while AUS rookie of the year Nava had hot hands for the X-Men with eight.
The second quarter remained close throughout the opening five minutes. The X-Men started to open up a lead midway through. Thomas Legallais (Cornwall, ON) drained a three with just under five minutes in the half to go up by 10 points, 37-27.
With two and a half minutes left, Jamie White (Saint John, NB) connected from beyond the arc to give the X-Men a 44-27 advantage.
The Reds shooting went cold in the second half of the quarter as the X-Men took the 46-34 lead into halftime.
Ibrahima Doumbouya (Calgary, AB) netted nine points for the Reds in the opening half while StFX were led by Nava with 15.
Nava kept up his strong play in the third quarter - his three-pointer three minutes in gave the X-Men a 55-36 lead as the gap widened even more.
After three quarters the X-Men were up 65-49.
The Reds clawed back at the lead in the fourth quarter and were not going down without a fight. They closed the gap to 11 points, 69-58 after four minutes.
UNB started to hit from long range with a consecutive pair of three-pointers and were down 75-66 with 3:45 left to play.
The gap narrowed further as UNB closed it to 76-70 with just over two minutes remaining. A three-pointer by Spurrell brought the game to within three points for the Reds, 78-75.
Thomas Legallais (Cornwall, ON) was cool down the stretch for the X-Men, hitting a lay-up and sinking four free throws.
The X-Men lead 80-75 with 52 seconds left to play and time ran out on the Reds as X held on for the 84-77 victory.
Roker put in another double-double game for the X-Men as he scored 20 and lead the team off the boards with 11 rebounds.
Nava netted 20 points, Legallais finished with nine and White played a very strong game off the bench for the X-Men on both sides of the ball.
Masters lead the Reds with 20 points while Spurrell contributed 18. Doumbouya finished with 16 and had 10 rebounds.
The X-Men will now face the top seeded Dalhousie Tigers in the AUS championship game Sunday afternoon. Tip-off is 4:00 pm at Scotiabank Centre.
Courtesy StFX Sports Information