HALIFAX, N.S. – After beating the No. 5 ranked Dalhousie Tigers in a home and home sweep last week, the U SPORTS No. 10 ranked Acadia Axemen fell short in extending their winning streak to six in a 70-68 edging by the StFX X-Men at Scotiabank Centre in Halifax.
In their first loss of the regular season, the Axemen grabbed a quick lead on the X-Men in the opening minutes of the first quarter. The lead was short lived as StFX went work compiling a 7-0 run to tie the game at nine.
Erik Nissen created a 16-11 lead off of a rare three point basket and a following layup, but StFX replied with another 7-0 run that was capped with a three pointer by Tristen Ross to give the X-Men an 18-16, and an eventual 28-22 lead after one quarter.
StFX's largest lead of 17 points would come at the 2:29 mark of the second quarter on a Justin Andrew basket from the distant arc.
Trailing 52-40 after one half, the Axemen drew on the play of big men Erik Nissen and Rhys Larry in the paint to close the gap to 66-60 X-Men on a 8-0 run. With 35 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Nick De Palma drained his fifth three-point basket of the night to close the X-Men lead to 68-63.
A final quarter that saw 25 points total scored by both teams, the Axemen narrowed the lead to 76-75 on two made free throws by Nissen.
A steal by Davonte Provo from Nissen set up an eventual Nissen foul on Justin Andrew who netted both free throws for the 80-75 lead.
One of two Nissen free throws and a Ben Miller layup with a minute remaining in the game, closed the margin to 80-78, but it was not enough for the tie as Acadia struggled to force the game into overtime.
The Axemen led in most statistical categories except points on turnovers, where the X-Men picked up 24 compared to Acadia's 15. Acadia had 22 turnovers versus StFX's 14.
Nissen had a game high 26 points, while teammate Nick De Palma worked the distant arc for 18 points and a 22-point total. Nissen and Larry dominated the boards with 11 and 10 rebounds respectively.
Davonte Provo posted 16 points for the X-Men and Tristen Ross and Julius Antoine added 11 and 10 points respectively. Kevin Bercy recorded eight points and seven rebounds.
The 5-1 Axemen travel to UPEI on Saturday to take on the winless Panthers, while the 2-4 X-Men host Cape Breton Capers – both games for four points in the standings.
NOTE: The game was played at 5:45 pm, prior to Team Canada vs Bahamas in a FIBA World Cup qualifying game hosted by SEAtlantic at the Scotiabank Centre.