WOLFVILLE, N.S. – The Acadia Axemen extended their winning streak to four with an 89-88 edging of the UNB Varsity Reds. The win, worth four points in the AUS standings since both teams will only meet twice this season, catapulted the Axemen into first place in the AUS standings.
Trailing 12-3 lead in the opening four minutes of the play, the Varsity Reds worked back to a 15-12 advantage off of a 12-0 run led by the offensive and defensive play of UNB's Donnavan Hastings (Brampton, Ont.).
The UNB run continued into the second frame as the Axemen fell behind 19-14 in the opening quarter and continued to have a hard time slowing down the momentum created by the V-Reds.
Finally, the second UNB run of the night – 9-1, was stopped by a Kyle Arseneault jump shot.
The Axemen went to work with Mitch Tempro (Three Miles Plains, N.S.) and Ben Miller (Winnipeg, Man.) each draining three point shots and adding two free throws each, narrowing the lead. A dunk by Subway Player of the Game, Erik Nissen (Quispamsis, N.B.)) along with a layup following Nissen's block of Tyrell Leotaud's (Ajax, Ont.) layup shrank the UNB cushion to 34-30.
Nick De Palma's layup and one gave the Axemen a one-point lead in the closing seconds of the first half, but V-Red Ravaughn Gayle's (Scarborough, Ont.) easy layup in the closing seconds gave UNB the 40-39 halftime lead.
The Axemen continued to pressure UNB through the third period, and a three-pointer by Nick De Palma brought the score to 46-46. Efforts by Javon Masters (Kitchener, Ont.) and a three point shot by Hess Mayele (Montreal, Que.) resulted in a 68-66 UNB lead at the end of the third period.
The two teams remained close throughout the final period, and a free throw by Nissen in the last eight seconds brought the score to 89-88, securing the Axemen's fourth straight win this season.
Nissen finished with a monstrous 33 points and 18 rebounds, while second year guard Mitch Tempro posted his best game to date with 23 points and seven rebounds. Nissen currently leads the league in rebounds, averaging 13.2 per game.
On the losing end, UNB's Javon Masters (Kitchener, Ont.) had a season low 15 points but did score the three points needed to surpass Sherone Edward's (UPEI) career scoring total of 1698. Masters sits third among the top in career scoring total and is closing in on second place Fred Perry's 1741 points.
Donnavan Hastings off the bench and Jamaal Potopsingh (Brampton, Ont.) each added 12 points to the UNB total.
The Varsity Reds will host the Dalhousie Tigers next Saturday night, while the Axemen host Tigers this coming Thursday evening.
Submitted by Laura Jeha, Acadia Athletics Communications Office