WOLFVILLE, N.S. – The winless UPEI Panthers gave the 10-2 Acadia Axemen a scare with the Axemen not taking a comfortable lead until the closing four minutes of the final quarter.
Down 36-29 at the half, Acadia's Trevon Grant off the bench and Ben Miller combined for 14 points (seven each) to help the Axemen gain control of the game and a 56-52 lead heading into the final frame.
A low scoring 16-9 Axemen advantage in fourth quarter scoring, allowed the Axemen to manage their fate and capture an important four-point win.
"You can't expect to win in this league, especially when a team gets blowout by Dalhousie (the night before), so they are going to want it bad. We expected a game but they gave us a little bit more than what we expected, but I thought we did a good job bouncing out of that slump," commented Subway Player of the Game Erik Nissen following the win.
The Axemen dictated the inside game, for the most part, tallying 20 points in the paint and out-performing the Panthers in second-chance points.
"I think we had an advantage in size, so we wanted to push it in there. I tell you what, we will be in practice tomorrow shooting free throws since we didn't hit very many," noted Nissen.
Acadia was 59% from the charity stripe, below their average of 68%, but Acadia led in three important statistical categories against the Panthers – rebounding, field goal percentage and fewer turnovers.
With eight games remaining before the AUS Final 6 in early March, Nissen pointed out the need for the team to take every game seriously and improve every day.
"It's a team that has a mindset to get better from this point to playoffs and that's what coach says and I believe that. Every day we will try to get better and hopefully, we are the best team when it comes down to it (Final 6)," concluded Nissen.
Nissen led the Axemen with a game-high 25 points and eight rebounds. Off the bench, Trevon Grant had his best outing of 2018 after missing five games due to injury with 15 points, five rebounds, six assists, two blocks and two timely threes.
On the losing end of the court, the Panthers had three players in double digits including Amin Suleman with 16 points, Moshe Wadley with 12 and Milorad Sedlarevic with 10.
The four-point win moves the Axemen into second place with 26 points – two points behind first-place Dalhousie and two points ahead of third place UNB. The Axemen head to Memorial this coming weekend for two games in Newfoundland.
The Panthers, who remain winless, host the 2-10 Cape Breton Capers for two games on the Island.