(ANTIGONISH, NS) The St FX X-Men topped the UNB Reds 87-81 in a close Atlantic University Sport game played Saturday night.
The game came down to the wire, with the X-Men pulling away in the final minute and a half to earn their tenth win of the season, and gain a valuable four points in the AUS standings.
The second place X-Men (10-7) are now two points ahead of the third place Reds (11-6) heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.
St FX had another big game from forward Azaro Roker (Nassau, Bahamas), who continues to put in double-double games. Saturday, he scored a game-high 24 points and hauled in 16 rebounds.
Justin Andrew (Hamilton, ON) received Subway Player of the Game honours for his 22-point contribution in the X win.
For the Reds, Marcus Masters (Kitchener, ON) was the top scorer with 19 points. He had 10 rebounds too, for the double-double.
The Reds got off to a hot start, going up 13-2 in the opening four minutes.
The X-Men chipped away at the lead and fought back to tie it up 15-15, with three and a half minutes to play in the opening quarter.
UNB continued their sharp shooting, late in the quarter and closed it out with a 28-18 advantage, as Spurrell scored eight points in the opening frame.
The X-Men had the scoring touch in the second quarter, outscoring the Reds 21-12.
UNB led 40-39 at half-time.
X again had the advantage in the third quarter, winning the 10 minutes by a 21-13 margin.
They began the quarter with an eight-point run to go up 47-40 in the opening two minutes.
The Reds pulled to within two points, 53-51 with under four minutes to play but the X-Men held a 60-53 lead after three quarters of play.
UNB looked to the long ball to help them early in the fourth quarter, with Daniel Pitcher (Sydney, AUS) and Leotaud draining back-to-back three's to pull within four points.
They tied it 68-68 with six minutes to play, thanks to a Masters jumper, then took the lead on a basket from Spurrell.
With exciting end-to-end action and the game tied with just over two minutes left, the X-Men slowly pulled ahead, thanks in part to time at the free-throw line, as the Reds found themselves in foul trouble down the stretch.
Thomas Legallais (Cornwall, ON) scored with just over a minute to play to put the X-Men up 82-76, and they didn't look back and won 87-81.
The X-Men played a disciplined game, with only nine fouls, keeping the Reds away from the free throw line.
St FX will next see action on Wednesday night, when they host Saint Mary's.
The Reds will play on home court on Saturday, against Memorial.
RECAP BY: Krista McKenna/St FX Athletics
PHOTOS BY: Paul Hurford/for St FX Athletics