ANTIGONISH, NS - The St. F.X. X-Men (2-1) defeated the visiting UPEI Panthers (1-3) 88-75 in Atlantic University Sport (AUS) basketball action Saturday night on Coach 'K' Court at the St. F.X. Saputo Centre.
Spurred by 11 points from an aggressive Azaro Roker (Nassau, Bahamas) on the interior, the X-Men jumped to a 24-19 edge after the first quarter.
On the strength of eight consecutive points, including long-range jump shots from Michael Utsalo (Brampton, ON) and Jaydan Smith (Halifax, NS), the White and Blue took a 32-19 advantage in the first two minutes of the second quarter.
After consecutive three-pointers from Dondre Reddick (Antigonish, NS) and Avan Nava (Mississauga, ON), along with two-point hoops from the pair, the X-Men lead ballooned to 42-21 midway through the second quarter.
The sizzling X-Men shooting continued, with Smith canning two shots from beyond the arc in a row, giving the home side a 48-23 lead with just more than three minutes remaining in the quarter.
The X-Men outscored the Panthers 26 to 10 in the second and took a 50-29 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
After a slow-starting third quarter, the Panthers - keyed by a pair of driving layups from Elijah Miller (Etobicoke, ON) and consecutive three-pointers from Dakelle Brooks (East Preston, NS) - made a 19 to 6 spurt in the first six minutes to slice the X-Men edge to 56-48.
Seven points from sophomore Atik Gilao (Brampton, ON), including a smooth post move and three-pointer, helped St. F.X. get back to a double-digit lead - 66-54 - heading into the fourth quarter.
In the final stanza, after Reddick of the X-Men and Jack MacAulay (Charlottetown, PE) exchanged shots from beyond the arc, the St. F.X. lead remained 10 points.
After a thunderous dunk by Roker with five minutes remaining in regulation, the X-Men led 75-61.
The X-Men maintained their double-digit advantage down the stretch with Nava stretching the edge to 82-65 with just more than two minutes remaining.
The Panthers never surrendered, outscoring the X-Men 10 to 6 to finish the game, while pressuring and putting the home team on the foul line.
Roker, the Subway player of the game, led the X-Men with 22 points, while finishing with five rebounds.
As part of a balanced attack for the White and Blue, Reddick - with 16 - Nava (12), Gilao (11), Utsalo (10) and Smith (10) finished in double digits.
Justin Andrew (Hamilton, ON) collected a team-high nine assists, while chipping in five rebounds.
Thomas Legallais (Cornwall, ON) added a team-best seven rebounds, coupled with five assists.
For the Panthers, Jamesley Jerome (Montreal, QC) meshed a team-high 15 points, while adding a game-high eight rebounds, while Miller fashioned a double-double - 14 points and 10 assists.
Brooks and Samuel Campbell (Vaughan, ON) also hooped double figures.
The X-Men will be back on the court Wednesday, Nov. 13, when they travel to Halifax to face the Saint Mary's Huskies, while the Panthers will return to action Friday, Nov. 15, when they host the Dalhousie Tigers in Charlottetown.
Tip-off for both match-ups is 8 p.m.
Recap by St. FX Athletics / Photos by Rachel Drummond