Clearly miffed at being snubbed in the prestigious CANHoops mid-season All-conference discussion, 6’8″ fifth-year star forward Meshack Lufile took out his frustrations on the St. FX X-Men last night, scoring 26 of his game-high 32 in the second half, including 15 in the final 12 minutes when Capers blew a two-point game wide open, as Cape Breton stopped X-Men 100-86. The win moves Capers to 6-5 on the season, good for 5th spot while X drops to 1-11 with their AUS tournament hopes fading rapidly.
Capers shot a sizzling 57% from the floor – including 21 for 37 after halftime – in the win, as St. FX gave up 100 points for the third time this season and more than 90 points for the 7th time in 11 games. Lufile added 10 rebounds while 6’4″ Kenny Jean-Louis, named to the aforementioned all-conference team, again pushed a triple/double with 24 points (18 in the first half including 16 in the second quarter alone), 8 rebounds and 12 assists.
As has been the case in most St. FX games this season, X-Men competed for much of the affair but wilted during a key stretch. Down only 2 at 69-67 late in the third quarter, X watched Cape Breton go on a 10-0 run with Lufile contributing 6 points. Later, when X got it to 8 at 82-74, Lufile took over again, scoring his final 9 points of the evening, part of a 16-4 run that pushed the lead to 20 and the route was on.
6’7″ Kevin Bercy once again led X with 22 points and 8 rebounds but X’s porous “d” hampered their efforts at staying in the game late. X is giving up an AUS-high 90.6 points per game and opponents are shooting 50% from the floor overall including 36% from downtown. The great X teams of the 90’s and 00’s ordinarily used their defense to turn games around with aggressive ball pressure all over the floor usually leading to transition scores and energy from the crowd. A return to that type of style and production is necessary quickly to save X from missing the AUS tournament for the second consecutive season.
St. FX travels to Halifax on Saturday to meet Saint Mary’s Huskies in an afternoon, four-point game while the Capers have an opportunity to push back toward the top two spots in the AUS as CBU hosts UPEI Panthers, tied for first place with Dal, for a pair of night games this Friday and Saturday.
In other AUS action this coming weekend, Memorial travels to UNB for a pair of games Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at the Richard Currie Gym and Acadia has a single game at first-place Dal in Halifax on Saturday night. Halifax fans can catch a pair of games: afternoon at Saint Mary’s and night at Dal.