WOLFVILLE, N.S. – Erik Nissen's two-point fadeaway shot with 0.2 seconds remaining in the game handed the Axemen a 75-73 win over the visiting StFX X-Men.
A capacity crowd of over 1200 fans was entertained from beginning to end as the last second victory gave the Axemen a 3-1 regular season series win between the provincial rivals.
Down 17-8 with just under four minutes remaining in the opening quarter, the X-Men battled back to tie the game at 20-20 on a Daniel Passley layup. A Masson Middaugh jump shot with 47 seconds remaining, gave Acadia a 22-20 lead after 10 minutes of play.
Cameron Walker's jump shot tied the game at 22, 38 seconds into the second quarter. Tristen Ross' basket, less than a minute later, gave StFX their first lead of the game at 24-22.
StFX stretched the lead to 32-25, but Acadia's Nick De Palma pulled the X-Men within reach with his first three-pointer of the night. The Axemen were unable to regain the lead before the conclusion of the first half, with StFX clinging to a 40-35 advantage into the locker room.
The X-Men maintained the lead for most of the third quarter until third-year guard Mitch Tempro's layup gave Acadia a 57-56 lead that they would hold until 1:46 remaining in regulation time when Kevin Bercy's layup tied the game at 71.
Now the fun begins.
Justin Andrew gives the X-Men a 73-71 lead on a layup. Acadia's Trevon Grant takes a Ben Miller pass to the hoop for two points for the tie and one on the Tristen Ross foul. Grant misses the foul shot, and the game remains tied at 73.
Following a StFX time-out, StFX's Bercy inbounds the ball only to be turned over by a great defensive effort by Erik Nissen and Trevon Grant. With the ball advanced on the Acadia time-out, a failed attempt to tie the game gives the Axemen the ball back on the StFX baseline after an X-Man tipped the ball out of bounds.
With 2.7 seconds remaining, Miller passes the ball inbounds to Nissen who pulls a post move that turns into a fadeaway shot for the basket to win.
But wait. 0.2 seconds remaining on the clock. An attempt to throw the ball the length of the court by StFX at their baseline fails, but an unintentional early buzzer voids the play. The X-Men have another opportunity to try the full court shot, but they are stopped by a block in bounds shot attempt.
Subway Player of the Game Ben Miller noted what adjustments were made following the halftime.
"We tried to fix our ball screen defense. We still have a lot of work to do on that and we fixed it a bit in the second half but we need to do better on that," said Miller following the game.
While the win was emotional, Miller was level-headed about the win at home against the X-Men.
"You can be as hot as you want in February but it doesn't matter, it's who wins in March," pointed out Miller.
When final team stats are compared at games end, only 3-point shots made by Acadia was a distinct difference with the Axemen draining six compared to StFX's two.
The X-Men posted 42 points in the paint compared to Acadia's 26 and the Axemen dropped 32 points off the bench.
StFX's Kevin Bercy posted a game-high 22 points, while teammates Davante Provo and Daniel Passley off the bench added 20 and 15 respectively.
The Axemen return to action next Friday and Saturday as they host UNB and UPEI respectively for two f4-point games. StFX will head to Saint Mary's on Wednesday for a 4-point game.