X gains gritty home sweep over UPEI

Getting strong, aggressive play from their key players especially inside, St. FX came from behind late with a gritty victory founded on getting on the glass at both ends, grabbing loose balls and making their free throws in an important 96-90 win over UPEI, giving X-Men a sweep of the weekend series in Antigonish and keeping their faint playoff hopes alive.  6’7″ Kevin Bercy (33 points, 13 rebounds including 8 “o” boards) completed a tremendous weekend with a 12 point fourth-quarter including the game-clinching lay-in after a big hustle play by fellow post 6’8″ Cameron Walker that gave X a 4 point lead with 32 seconds remaining.  St. FX made 8 of 10 free throws down the stretch and Bercy was a perfect 7 for 7 including all 4 in the game’s final 4 minutes.

Down 6 with 5 1/2 minutes remaining and facing a UPEI zone, X got an under-rated effort from 6’1″ pg Davonte Provo (just 1 point but 7 rebounds and a game-high 11 assists), who sliced into the lane to create openings and X-Men posts Bercy and Walker (20 points, 9 rebounds) dominated UPEI’s rim protectors 6’8″ Dut Dut and 6’6″ Brad States inside down the stretch.  Panthers had to resort to a zone given both Dut and States battled foul trouble and UPEI’s associated lack of big man depth.  Walker’s pair of inside scores on power moves were followed by the go-ahead bucket with just over a minute to play by 6’2″ lefty Julius Antoine and X stiffened defensively, aided by some quick shots by the Panthers, leading to 1 and dones.

6’2″ Tyler Scott again started slowly but came alive in the second half, keeping UPEI in the game with 19 of his team-high 31 points after the intermission while 6’0″ Amin Suleman came off the bench with 14 points and 7 assists, showing an impressive mid-range game of shooting and finding teammates off dribble drives.

While the Panthers (10-6) play very well at home, their lack of consistent paint-area defense, sometimes sketchy shot selection and a lack of depth up front – States picked up his fourth foul very early in the 4th / Dut was in foul trouble all afternoon with little on the bench to pick up the starters is making life more difficult away from Charlottetown, where UPEI is just 2-5 on the season.  Final foul count on the afternoon:  UPEI 20 fouls, St. FX 21 fouls.

With the victory, St. FX moves to 3-12 on the season with 6 points and trails both Memorial and Saint Mary’s by 6 points in the quest for a spot in the AUS tournament.  St. FX has 5 games and a total of 18 points remaining to win – 4 of their final 5 games are 4 point affairs including their next game this coming Tuesday at home against Saint Mary’s in a rescheduled affair from a postponement earlier in the year.  Needless to say, Tuesday’s game is a “must win” four pointer for the X-Men.


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