The Acadia Axemen led early and often, and powered their way to an 85-69 win over the Dalhousie Tigers in the final game of the Rod Shoveller Memorial Tournament at the Dalplex on Saturday night.
Owen Klassen and Anthony Sears each dropped 15 points to lead the Axemen in the win. Klassen was dominant down low, demanding double teams and opening lanes for open perimeter shooters all night long. The Axemen shot 11-21 from deep in the win.
Jarred Reid was one of the lone bright spots for the Tigers, pouring in 15 points on 6-11 shooting.
The game started with a couple disjointed offensive possessions from both sides, and the game remained scoreless until Anthony Sears broke the deadlock 1:20 into the game with a three.
Jarred Reid was on the prowl defensively, coming up with two big steals early on.
The Tigers offense was stagnant in the first quarter, only scoring four points in their first seven minutes of play on 22% (2-9) shooting.
John Traboulsi drained a three with the shot clock expiring and was fouled on the follow through by Anthony Sears, but couldn't convert on the free throw for the four-point play.
Star Tigers forward Devon Stedman appeared to injure his knee in the first quarter after being knocked to the ground, though no foul was called. He left the game with 2:30 left in the first quarter and did not return until the start of the second quarter.
Simon Marr grinded in the post for a tough layup with five seconds left to tie the game at 15 after the first quarter.
Owen Klassen started going to work in the second quarter, battling Stedman for inside possession. The
The game was tied at 29 until AJ Simmonds found himself wide open on the perimeter and knocked down the easy three to give the Axemen the edge.
The intensity picked up near the end of the second quarter as Acadia went on an 11-0 run to extend their lead to 40-29. Acadia's stifling man defense prevented the Tigers from getting almost any good looks inside, forcing them to take tough shots as the shot clock wound down.
Simon Marr snagged a steal with four seconds left in the clock and the Tigers pushed the ball up to Kashrell Lawrence, who shot a three with a second left on the clock. Lawrence's shot was short, but Jarred Reid grabbed the air ball in midair and sank the tip in, cutting the Axemen's lead to ten.
The Axemen led 42-32 going into the half.
Kyle Arseneault opened the scoring with a three just ten seconds into the third quarter. Acadia swung the ball well around the perimeter all game long, always making the extra pass to find a man open for the jump shot.
Acadia never took their foot off the gas pedal, pounding the Tigers in the third quarter with relentless defense and pinpoint passes on offense. Rick Plato had seen enough from his starters, and subbed in players from deep on his bench. The Axemen opened up the lead to 62-43 going into the final frame.
In the fourth quarter, Dalhousie's bench gave the team some energy, highlighted by three shots from outside the ark from backup guard Nick Nissirios.
In the end, Acadia proved to be too strong and too tough, outshooting and out muscling the Tigers. The Axemen shot 52.7% (29-55) from the field and had a solid advantage on the boards.
Devon Stedman (Dalhousie) and Anthony Sears (Acadia) were named tournament all-stars, while Acadia forward Owen Klassen was named the tournament MVP.
In other games on the final day at the Shoveller, Kevin Berry had 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead the StFX X-Men over the Bishop Gaitors 66-60. Jona Bermillo had a game-high 18 points in the loss.
Geoff Doane and Deontay Smith combined for 43 points and 12 rebounds, but the UPEI Panthers fell to the Saint Mary's Huskies 94-85. Marquis Clayton had 24 points on 8-13 shooting and added 9 assists in the win for the Huskies.