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Tigers come back to earn 96-84 win

Photo by Michael Corbeil
Photo by Michael Corbeil

by Kirk Jessome

(Halifax, NS) – In Wednesday evening basketball action, the Dalhousie Tigers hosted the StFX X-Men at the Dalplex. After being down at the break, the Tigers mounted a second-half comeback to take a 96-84 win.   

The X-Men were on fire to start the game, with Azaro Roker (Nassau, BAH) picking up a lob from Avan Nava (Mississauga, ON) to throw down a huge dunk, followed up by a catch-and-shoot three from Jamie White (Saint John, NB) to build an early lead.   

The Tigers were able to stop the bleeding with Alex Carson (Lower Sackville, NS) and Marley Blommers (Chatham, ON) hitting from deep, but Nava continued to be a hot hand for the X-Men with 12 points in the quarter.   

After Roker threw down another alley-oop dunk, the X-Men took a 25-18 lead into the second quarter on nearly 80% shooting from the field.   

The threes continued to fall for the X-Men, with Justin Andrew (Hamilton, ON) hitting his team's fourth shot from deep in the opening seconds of the second quarter.  

The pace of the game quickened to a hectic pace midway through the second, but it didn't seem to help either team. The X-Men were forcing up quick shots, looking to take advantage of numbers, while the Tigers passing in the transition game was off, resulting in turnovers adding up.  

The X-Men were living by the three in the first half, with an astounding 50% of their shots from the field coming from deep through two quarters, but they were able to hit on 9 of them, at a 56% rate.   

The Tigers were able to keep the quarter close, with Xavier Ochu (Milton, ON) knocking down a pair of threes, but the X-Men took a 49-39 lead into the break.  

Just as in the first half, Azaro Roker started the second with a huge two-handed dunk on the lob from Justin Andrew to spark some energy in the game.   

The Tigers were able to counter that energy by attacking the paint in transition and earning trips to the line to slow down the high-energy game.   

After slowly chipping away throughout the quarter, the Tigers were finally able to tie the game, and take over the lead on back to back threes from Keevan Veinot (Port Williams, NS) and Ochu to make it 66-63.   

With less than a second left in the quarter, Atik Gilao (Brampton, ON) was fouled on a three-point attempt and knocked all of them down from the line to reclaim the lead at 72-70 going into the final quarter.  

The Tigers got rolling in the fourth with Veinot knocking down a three, followed by a big dunk from Sascha Kappos (Miami, FL) on a great interior pass from Shamar Burrows (St. Catherines, ON).  

Burrows continued to work for the Tigers on the offensive end, getting to the rim, and then finding Jordan Brathwaite (Milton, ON) for a big three to give the Tigers an 86-78 lead and force an X-Men timeout.   

The X-Men were still trying to get back into the game by the three, but the shots wouldn't fall for Nava late in the game. The Tigers were content to slow the game and run out the clock, with Burrows knocking down a floater in the lane, and Brathwaite hitting from deep one more time to secure the 96-84 win.   

Avan Nava finished with a game-high 22 points for the X-Men, while Xavier Ochu finished with 20 points and 5 rebounds on 4-5 shooting from deep to earn the Subway Player of the Game.   

The Tigers are back at home on Sunday when they host Cape Breton, while the X-Men will be back at home on Saturday for a 4-point game against UNB.