WOLFVILLE, N.S. - Jacques Lukusa's 24 points helped the Acadia Axemen battled off the visiting Brock Badgers in a 97-92 exhibition win on the opening night of Acadia's Homecoming 2018.
It was clear that the Thursday night matchup was going to be close from the start. A back-and-forth first quarter ended with Acadia up by 6, though their lead did not come easily. The quarter ended 25-19, with Acadia's Jacques Lukusa (Ottawa, Ont.) contributing 13 points.
The Axemen kept up a high three-point shooting percentage in the second, making 8 of their 17 attempts. Despite Cassidy Ryan's (Mississauga, Ont.) 22-point half for the Badgers, Acadia went into the intermission up 47-40.
The depth of the Axemen started to show in the third, as more players found the scoresheet. Axeman Nick de Palma (Bedford, N.S.) finished the third quarter with 18 points, 3 behind teammate Lukusa. The Axemen maintained their 7-point gap in the third, with a 74-67 lead.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Badgers made their comeback and were within 2 points of the Axemen with a 1:23 on the clock. Their window of opportunity was shut quickly when
De Palma hit a dagger three with 8.8 seconds remaining in regulation time. The Badgers did not put up any more points after that, and the score settled at 97-92 for the Axemen.
Off the bench, Lukusa finished with a team high 24 points and was five for seven from the distant arc, good enough to earn him the Subway Player of the Game Award.
De Palma added 23 points including five three-point baskets and a timely three at the end of the game, while teammate Rowan Powers posted 17 points off the bench.
Badger Cassidy Ryan was unstoppable at times, delivering a game high 27 points. Johneil Simpson added the double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The Axemen have their second exhibition game this weekend on Sunday afternoon against the defending U SPORTS champion Calgary Dinos at 2:00 p.m.
The Badgers are back in action Friday when they head to Halifax to take on the Saint Mary's Huskies.
Submitted by Theodore Giesen, Acadia Athletics Communications