WOLFVILLE, N.S. - The Acadia Axemen opened the new year with a convincing 85-75 win over the Memorial Sea-Hawks Saturday night's second game of the evening.
A high-energy, physical first quarter from both teams had Acadia coming out on top 26-15. The Axemen shot an excellent five for nine from deep and hit seven of their seven attempted free throws.
Acadia's Ryan Munro (St. Margaret's Bay, N.S.) led all players with 12 points after the opening 10 minutes.
With a minute remaining in the first half, Acadia's Brett Speedy (Fredericton, N.B.) tossed up a perfect lob for Brandon Aultman (Kitchener, Ont.) who finished with the aggressive slam dunk, igniting the crowd before halftime. The Axemen led 38-37 at the halfway point.
Although they took the 1-point lead into the half, the Axemen only managed 12 points in the second quarter and the Sea-Hawks were starting to find their rhythm.
The Axemen stepped it up in the third and restored a comfortable lead. The score entering the fourth quarter read 63-56.
The Sea-Hawks controlled the offensive rebounds, grabbing 17 by the fourth quarter, opposed to Acadia's 5.
Acadia continued to battle hard and shoot well throughout the fourth frame and was able to hold onto their lead and post an 85-75 victory at home.
The Sea-Hawks only made 5 of their 18 attempted threes, whereas Acadia shot an impressive 11/23 (47.8%).
Marcus Upshaw (Burlington, Ont.) of the Axemen had a great game and shot very efficiently, going six for eight from the field, two of three from three, and made both his free throw attempts. Upshaw also added four rebounds and three assists, good enough to lock up a Subway Player of the Game honours.
"We have been really preaching team basketball by sharing the ball, getting downhill to the paint and trying to be unselfish one through five. Defensively on the rebounds, we need to really clean that up, they are kind of a big team. Once we started to roll with that, the transition started to come, which is where we like to be in the game," said Upshaw.
Memorial's Deng Lual (St. Johns, Nfld.) posted19 points on eight for sixteen shooting and grabbed seven rebounds. His performance on both ends of the court earned him a Player of the Game award.
Both teams return to the court tomorrow at 3:00 pm where Memorial will hope to pick up a win to split the weekend, while the Axemen will work for a two-game sweep to tie the regular-season series at 2-2.