WOLFVILLE, N.S. - The Acadia Axemen seem to have hit their stride this season. Coming off a successful weekend in Cape Breton, where they won both of two games against the Cape Breton Capers, the Axemen continued with another win Friday night against the UPEI Panthers.
Third-year guard Nick de Palma (Bedford, NS) led the play for the Axemen, making 10 out of 15 three point shots during the game - a new Axemen basketball record and second in the AUS record book. De Palma came out strong in the first period, hitting three out of four from the three-point line. This helped Acadia end with a 13-point lead in the first quarter.
De Palma continued his streak into the second period hitting a three-point jump shot 20 seconds in. De Palma followed this up with two more back to-back three pointers, helping the Axemen extend their lead.
The Panthers began to pick it up towards the end of the first half. Efforts from forward Milorad Sedlarevic (Jesenice, Slovenia), and Tyler Scott (Halifax, NS), who led the Panthers with 18 total points, helped UPEI narrow the gap going into the third period.
A strong defensive game from senior Erik Nissen (Quispamsis, NB) with 13 rebounds, and Kyle Arsenault (Fredericton, NB), with nine rebounds and 21 points total, helped the Axemen maintain their lead.
A push by the Panthers at the end of the third period, led by guard Samy Mohamed's 8-0 run (Toronto, ON), helped them to close the Axemen lead to only six points.
The Panthers battled, but could not make up the points in the last period, and the Acadia Axemen finished with a 107-93 win over the Panthers, their fourth of the season.
When asked what was done different in this game that put the perimeter game to the forefront, Acadia head coach Kevin Duffie noted that "the hot hand" was key to strong perimeter game.
"I don't think we did anything different other than a great shooter getting hot and finding space to get the shot off and then he just ended up having a great night. We also have to credit our ball movement in the half court and our guys finding the hot hand", noted Duffie.
With an early large lead that slowly shrunk by the end of the game, Duffie pointed out that the team loosened up during moments in the game.
"I thought in the first quarter we were working hard defensively and forced them into some tough shots and then we got a little loose defensively especially in transition. The game was played at a high place with a lot of possessions and they are a team who have some guys who can make shots in that style of game", commented Duffie.
The Axemen improve to 3-2 and host the 3-2 UNB Varsity Reds tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m., while the Panthers drop to 1-4 and travel to Halifax tomorrow night to take on 3-2 Saint Mary's Huskies.
Provided by Laura Jeha, Acadia Athletics Communications Office