(ANTIGONISH, NS) The St FX X-Men evened the weekend series, nipping the UNB Reds by a 99-92 score Saturday night, following up on a fantastic game played between the same squads on Friday.
In contrast to Friday's game, it was the Reds who got off to the hot start and took a 19-7 first quarter lead. Daniel Pitcher (Sydney, AUS), with six first quarter points, ran the show for the Reds, and Jesse Kendall (Guelph, ON) showed his experience with a steady performance. Tristan Ross (Truro, NS) had the hot hand early for the X-Men as he nailed two three-pointers.
The Reds took a close 44-43 lead into the halftime break.
Those in attendance who did not know what month it was could easily have mistaken it for play-off basketball, such was the intensity and high standard of play. For the X-Men, it was no surprise to see sharp-shooter Justin Andrew (Hamilton, ON) hit two nice shots from beyond the arc, while Azaro Roker (Nassau, BAH) contributed a momentum-shifting slam dunk.
For the Reds, Kendall continued his solid play and helped keep UNB in the game as they were down by a single point, 61-60 after three quarters.
The fourth quarter was a see-saw battle which saw numerous lead changes.
Leads for both teams were all short-lived.
While the game was tied in the dying seconds, Pitcher coolly dribbled up court, drove the lane, and put up a lay-up attempt that went seemingly three-quarters of the way into the basket before cruelly coming out again, and the scored was 86-86 at the end of regulation.
Overtime saw X gain the early advantage with some great play by Jaydan Smith (Halifax, NS). The turning point of the overtime period was a timely steal and stylish layup by Smith.
Pitcher finished with 27 points and nine rebound. Kendall netted 23 and Chris Spurrell (Quispamsis, NB) added 10 points and nine assists.
X had five scorers in the double digits including Andrew with 22. Ross scored 17 and Smith contributed 14 points off the bench.
The Reds next see action in their home-opener, against the Dal Tigers, Friday at 8:00pm. The X-Men travel to Cape Breton on Saturday for an 8:00pm tip.
RECAP BY: Bart Sears, St FX Sports Information
PHOTOS BY: Bryan Kennedy, St FX Sports Information