(FREDERICTON, NB) The UNB Reds and Acadia Axemen traded shots all night in an exciting Atlantic University Sport contest, in Fredericton, on Friday.
In the end, the hometown Reds beat the Axemen 87-81.
Matur Maluach (Sydney, Australia) scored a game-high 18 points to lead UNB. The freshman also grabbed seven rebounds and was named the Subway Player of the Game.
"It was a great win for us," said Maluach. "It was a great atmosphere, and as a player, that's what you want to have. Our transition defence wasn't quite up to scratch, and they got rebounds and that's what got them back in the game."
The teams went almost shot for shot in the first quarter, tied 12-12 through the latter stages of the opening frame.
The Reds then sprang to life, pulling out to a 20-15 lead.
UNB rode strong offensive play by Ibrahima Doumbouya (Calgary, AB) to a 23-18 lead after one quarter.
In the second, the Axemen stayed with the Reds, until a push by the home team.
Up 31-20, Chris Spurrell (Quispamsis, NB) hit a big three point shot to extend UNB's lead to 14 points.
At the half, the Reds led 43-31.
Mid-way through the third, Acadia was within six, but the reds finished the quarter with a ten-point edge, 63-53.
Cue the Acadia rally.
With less than a minute to play, the Axemen were within three, at 78-75.
Spurrell finished with 17 points, while Willett had 13 off the bench.
Rowan Power (Dartmouth, NS) led the Axemen, scoring 17 points and grabbing eight rebounds.
"It is tough, because we came back," said Power. "Down 12 at half, we came back, brought it within three, but UNB's a good team, we're on the road, these are tough wins to pick up, so it is tough in that it's a close game and we wanted the comeback."
Alex Muise (Bedford, NS) scored 15 off the bench in Acadia's losing cause, and Forest Mahoney (Beachburg, ON) added 13.
The Reds are now 2-and-1, while the Axemen, after a season-opening win, have lost two straight to stand at 1-and-2.
The teams face each other again on Saturday. Game time is 8:00pm.
RECAP BY: Andy Campbell/UNB Athletics
PHOTOS BY: James West/for UNB Athletics