Antigonish, NS – All five starters scored in double figures for the visiting Saint Mary's Huskies as they edged the host team 83-77 in the championship game of the 38th Annual X-Men Basketball Invitational Tournament, presented by Pizza Delight, Saturday night at Oland Centre.
The Huskies outscored the X-Men 24-19, in the fourth quarter, to seal the deal.
After a back-and-forth first quarter, StFX held a two-point edge – 19-17.
Kevin Bercy (Kanata, ON), who finished with a game-high 31 points, keyed an early X-Men burst with six consecutive points, while Kemar Alleyne (Scarborough, ON) scored five of his 17 to keep the visitors close.
Three minutes into the second quarter, on a left-handed reverse lay-up by Akil Charles (Glenn Dale, MD), who finished with 12 points, the home side took a 25-19 lead.
After a deep three-pointer from freshman guard Justin Andrew (Hamilton, ON), the X-Men were up 35-29, the largest advantage of the first half for either side.
The Huskies, propelled by Alleyne's offense, knotted the score 37-37 at halftime.
In the opening five minutes of the third quarter, the teams traded the lead, with Bercy and Cameron Walker, who finished with four points and 13 rebounds, powering the X-Men inside, while Theon Reefer, who led the Huskies with 18 points, ignited his team, from the outside, with five consecutive points, including a shot from beyond the arc.
For the rest of the third, the teams stayed close, with the Huskies taking a short-lived six-point edge, before the X-Men closed on a 9-4 spurt to trim the deficit to 59-58, heading into the pivotal fourth quarter.
Halfway through the final stanza, on a turnaround bank shot from Reefer, the Huskies took a 68-63 lead.
After Marquis Clayton (Halifax, NS) stripped X-Men guard Julius Antoine (Woodbridge, ON), on a post-up shot attempt, he fed Brian Rouse (Mississauga, ON), for a fast-break lay-up, which made it 70-63 for the Huskies – the largest lead for either team in the game.
Saint Mary's extended the advantage to 12 points – 75-63 – on a three-pointer play from Alleyne.
With a Charles' shot from beyond the arc, the X-Men closed the gap to 79-72, but they could get no closer.
Clayton helped seal the deal with clutch free throws down the stretch.
Clayton and Rouse finished with 14 and 10 points, respectively, while Achuil Lual (Ottawa, ON) contributed 15 for the Huskies.
Alleyne and Lual completed double-doubles, with 12 and 10 rebounds, respectively, while Clayton dished out eight assists for the winners.
For the X-Men, Bercy added 13 rebounds, to complete his double-double, while adding three steals.
Tristen Ross (Truro, NS), with 12, and Antoine (10), also hit double figures for the X-Men, while Davonte Provo (East Preston, NS) and Charles chipped in eight and six assists, respectively.
Bercy, Charles and Alleyne were named to the tournament all-star team, along with Christian Affolter (Bern, SUI) of the Cape Breton Capers and Trenity Burdine (Reading, Pennsylvania) of the Holland College Hurricanes.
Reefer garnered the Ernie Foshay Memorial Award for tournament MVP.
In the earlier consolation game, the Hurricanes defeated the Capers 94-70.
Source StFX Communications