Saturday, 1 January 2011

X-Men return to Shoveller Championship game

Playing without star fifth-year guard Christian "T-Bear" Upshaw, St. FX used their pattened pressure "d" and played with much more energy and purpose in a comfortable 88-77 win over Concordia Stingers in the first semi-final of the 20th Shoveller Memorial tournament.  6'5" Jeremy Dunn was the offensive star for the X-Men, scoring 25 points (unofficial) but maybe the most important X-Men this afternoon was 5'9" Will Silver, who did a nice job pressuring Stingers star guard Kyle Desmarais (with some help from his friends) and made several key steals and baskets at big spots in the game.  X advances to tomorrow night's championship game against the winner of Acadia / Dal later tonight.

X jumped out to a 20-7 lead early as Dunn knocked down consecutive 3's and Silver made up for the absence of T-Bear with a 3 and a driving "and 1" in what was a foul filled first quarter.  Early on, Concordia's star Desmarais was able to get himself to the rim clean a couple of times but after that Silver dug in and got more purposeful help as X decided to send more pressure which created a spat of turnovers and a 13-1 X run.  But Stingers 6'5" forward James Clark knocked down a jump hook, which led to a 6-2 ConU run and a 22-15 X lead after one.

Concordia got it 5 early in the second as the fouls mounted and flow temporarily left the game however 6'3" Dwayne Johnson injected some energy with a steal, lay-in plus an "and 1" followed by a steal off a trap and X had their double digit lead restored.  Desmarais and Krah knocked down consecutive 3's late in third to get the game back to 6 at 34-28 but Silver led a half-ending 7-0 run as X led 41-28 at the break.

X threatened to blow the game wide open early in the third as 6'0" Charlie Spurr hit back-to-back 3's including the second on which Stingers starting forward Clark was whistled for his fourth foul.  The ensuing free throw on the 4 point play gave X their largest lead at 51-33.  Later, Spurr's third 3 of quarter put the lead at 20.  ConU scored last 6 points of the quarter to cut it to 14.

The closest the Stingers could get it in the fourth was 7 as ConU got a lift off the bench from 6'2" Frank Fiola with a follow plus a straight away 3.  However, X threw over the top of Concordia pressure and 6'9" Alberto Rodriquez hammered home an exclamation point dunk to get lead back to 10 with under 2 to play and the remainder of the game became a foul shotathon.  Concordia also lost 6'3" Evens Laroche, who struggled from the perimeter today, to fouls early in the fourth.

In the consolation games, Laval hammered Queen's 96-70 as 6'3" J.F. Beaulieu-Mahieux and 6'6" Etienne Labrecque each had 20 points.  No word yet on the score from Saint Mary's vs. Laurentian game although I believe Saint Mary's did win it.

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