(HALIFAX, NS) The UNB REDS have been eliminated from the Atlantic University Sport Championships, dropping a 94-76 quarter final match to the STFX X-Men.
Thomas LeGallais (Cornwall, ON), playing in his final AUS game, scored 18 points to lead the REDS.
2nd Team AUS All Star Chris Spurrell (Quispamsis, NB), also playing in his final game as a RED, was limited to just seven points and two assists.
"It's not a good feeling, I can tell you that," said Spurrell. "It was defensive lapses. 45-38, I think it was at halftime, but it felt more like it was a defensive game in the first place and we basically let them run all over us the last two or three minutes of the first half and same thing in the second half."
Early on, both teams struggled to adjust to the expanse of the Scotiabank Centre, with a number of shots falling short of their mark.
Midway through the quarter, the REDS held a slim 12-10 lead, but the X-Men easily pulled even with and then past UNB.
In the final minute, Norm Burry (Grafton, NB) and Brandon Laryea (Crawley, UK) hit free throws to pull the REDS to within one.
At the end of the first quarter, STFX led 17-16.
In the second, the X-Men went on an early 9-0 run to build a 26-16 lead, but the REDS rallied again.
Tyrell Leotaud (Ajax, ON) and Sterling Simpson (Fredericton, NB) hit three-point shots on back-to-back possessions to close the gap to four points.
Minutes later, with UNB down just two, LeGallais hit a three of his own to give the REDS a 29-28 lead.
Leotaud would score on a lay-up with 2:17 to play and draw a foul in the process. His free throw put UNB ahead 36-35.
But, the X-Men would outscore the REDS 10-2 down the stretch, taking a 45-38 lead into halftime.
The REDS opened the third quarter with an Ibrahima Doumbouya (Calgary, AB) three pointer.
A few minutes later, with X up 49-43, LeGallais scored on a lay-up, then stole the ball as the X-Men attempted to move the ball up court and sunk a three-point shot to make the score 49-48.
X then went on a 10-2 run to open a 59-50 lead and extended that to 67-50 with 45 seconds to play in the quarter.
STFX led 71-55 after three.
UNB had no answers for a relentless X offence and the X-Men held off the REDS, winning 94-76.
"We got out-played tonight, we got out-played," said REDS head coach Joe Salerno. "I thought we got out-coached tonight. In the second half, STFX played very well. I've got to give a lot of credit to them."
Justin Andrew (Hamilton, ON) led the X-Men with 20 points, while Avan Nava (Mississauga, ON) scored 19 points and had five assists.
"The second half just kind of got away from us," said Salerno. "They've got a couple of very good players, in Nava and Andrews, and those guys hit shots when it mattered. They were able to string possessions together, and their ability to switch defensively on us and have the athletes and physicality to be able to do that really took us out of the loop tonight."
The loss ends the REDS season.
It also ends LeGallais' university playing career.
"There's a lot of heartbreak in the room right now, especially for our older guys," he said. "Right after a loss, it's hard. But, in a couple of weeks, maybe I'll look back and I'll have really enjoyed this experience."
Spurrell echoed that sentiment.
"I'm pretty proud to have come to UNB, have Baker recruit me here six years ago," he said. "I met a ton of life-long friends that I have here. Between them and getting to play for Coach Baker and Coach Salerno, overall, it's been a great experience."
Doumbouya finished the game with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Burry, the AUS Rookie of the Year, was held to seven points and three rebounds.
RECAP BY: Andy Campbell/UNB Athletics
PHOTOS BY: Nick Pearce/for Atlantic University Sport