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Tigers open season with 94-61 win over X-Men

Photo by Trevor MacMillan
Photo by Trevor MacMillan

Game recap by Kirk Jessome

(Halifax, NS) – In the season opener for the Dalhousie Tigers men's basketball team, they hosted the StFX X-Men on Saturday at the Dalplex. The Tigers defense was strong, forcing turnovers to help push them to a 94-61 win to start the season.

The X-Men opened the game at a furious pace with Justin Andrew (Hamilton, ON) nailing a deep three on the first possession of the game. They followed that up with Azaro Roker (Nassau, Bahamas) picking up two offensive rebounds to keep the possession alive for Dondre Reddick (Antigonish, NS) to slash through the lane for two.

On the other end, Jordan Wilson (Nassau, Bahamas) was dominant on the offensive glass as well, picking up three early rebounds on the attacking end to finish off plays.

Brent Martindale (Kingston, ON) stepped into the game and did exactly what he joined the Tigers roster to do, secure rebounds and get into the paint to earn trips to the line for five quick points off the bench.

After a huge last second block from Roker ended the first quarter, the teams headed into the second with the Tigers leading 24-17.

Wilson continued to take over in the offensive paint, making a few great drop-steps on the block for easy lay-ins early in the second quarter.

The X-Men weren't afraid to push the ball into the lane in transition, and it resulted in trips to the line for Justin Andrew and foul trouble for the Tigers early.

The pace quickened in final minutes of the half, with Xavier Ochu (Milton, ON) slashing from the top of the key for a few nice buckets before Roker was finally able to swat the third one away. The quick transition plays began to get rushed for the X-Men, however, resulting in turnovers and extra possessions for the Tigers to grow their lead.

The Tigers were able to shut down the defensive end, with Sascha Kappos (Miami, FL) picking up a block before Jordan Brathwaite (Milton, ON) sent away another shot in transition.

The Tigers held the X-Men to just 11 points in the quarter and heading into the break, the Tigers lead increased to 43-28.

Increasing the lead to 21 early in the second half, Jordan Wilson made a great play to gather in the paint and drop a pass to Kappos with his back turned to him for Kappos to finish the play off with a two-hand dunk.

Matt McVeigh (Halifax, NS) stepped up for seven-straight points in a big run for the Tigers, crashing the offensive boards and getting out in transition as the lead grew to 62-36.

Sidney Okeke (Brampton, ON) and Jaydan Smith (Halifax, NS) were able to get to the rim before the quarter expired, but heading into the final quarter, the Tigers held a 70-47 lead.

Xavier Ochu continued to lead the transition game for the Tigers, with great hands at the top of the key to generate loose balls to add to the Tigers 16 steals and 31 points off of turnovers in the game.

The X-Men were able to have a little bit of life late in the game with Roker throwing down a big two-hand dunk, but the Tigers lead was too great for them to have a shot to get back in it at 86-58.

As time ran out in this one, the Tigers came away with the 94-61 win to open their season.

Avan Nava (Mississauga, ON) led the X-Men with 11 points, while Keevan Veinot quietly picked up a game-high 21 points along with 5 assists for the Subway Player of the Game title in the win for the Tigers.

The Tigers will be back on the court on Wednesday against the cross-town Saint Mary's, while the X-Men will have their home opener in a back-to-back against UPEI next Friday.