The Ball Bounced Back for X-Men Basketball Team


A memorable weekend against Memorial Sea-Hawks

On Saturday February 2 the X-Men basketball team suffered a heart-wrenching loss as they trailed the Memorial Sea-Hawks in game one of their back-to-back, 82-79. Their bench gave more than a helping hand with 28 points in the game. 

In the first quarter the X-Men seemed lost and at a disadvantage as they played Memorials’ fast-paced game built on X-Men turnovers and shot attempts. Trailing in the second quarter during a close game, the X-Men held on with an increase in ball movement and off-ball screens as well as a defensive hustle from Daniel Passley that kept the X-Men within a few points of the Sea-Hawks. Passley ended the game with 10pts (points) 14reb (rebounds) and nine dreb (defensive rebounds). 

The X-men didn’t start the 2nd half off great, giving up three straight baskets and three turnovers in the first minute and thirty seconds. In addition, Emanuel Ring of the Sea-Hawks got a monster block to put the X-Men down by eight  points not long after. Although lacking effort on offence and unable to finish plays, they slowly showed signs of life and started to penetrate the Sea-Hawks defence in the paint. With under 2 minutes left in the quarter, the X-Men gained momentum by working together and stepping up their defence. Azaro Roker, #12, forced a critical turnover with a block shutting down Ring who’s currently the fourth leading scorer in AUS Men’s Basketball. Following that play, Atik Gilao of the X-Men would step in and draw the offensive foul charge, one of his many trademark attributes. 

In the fourth  quarter, it was obvious that the X-Men were still in it to win it only trailing by six. It wasn’t a big stretch and they’ve come back from worse. Great focus on passing, rebounding and ball movement led the X-Men to post their highest scoring quarter of the night. After a push from the backcourt and a couple three balls from Thomas Legallais and Justin Andrew, the X-Men were up 77-76. The following play, Nathan Barker of the Sea-Hawks would take the ball cross-country and score a bucket and foul giving them the lead 79-77;  the youngest of X fans ran the sideline chanting, “We want Defence” with only 15 seconds left. 

“I wish them the best,” said StFX student Lucas Lawrence. Even with community support, there wasn’t enough time for the X-Men to make a come back. 

On Sunday February 3 following their defeat by the Memorial Sea-Hawks the previous day, the X-Men were without Roker who suffered a knee injury. Roker averages 10 ppg, 10.5 apg at 41.8 FG %. Gilao led the way with 23 pts and 12 reb while Legallais, Tristen Ross, and Justin Andrew all scored in double digits with Andrew taking control of the rebounds with 11 and nine defensive. It was a new day and a chance at redemption for the X-Men who left their 22 turnovers behind to defeat the Sea-Hawks 88-81 in a fast-paced game that got the fans out of their seats. Unselfish passing and a tight 2-3 zone defence forced two turnovers which translated into a block from Gilao and a few trips to the free throw line. StFX started off the game with a 13-point lead and finished the first quarter with a shot clock violation by the Sea-Hawks to put the X-Men up 23-17. 

The X-Men trailed the Sea-Hawks in both the second and third quarter in points. Both squads struggled with transition offence, yet the X-Men’s patience on offence led to fewer turnovers overall. The X-Men were finally playing their game – slow, controlled, and full of passes with cuts. The third quarter was a back and forth battle, but it ended 55-54 for the X-Men. In the final frame, the X-Men lost the lead as they showed signs of fatigue; being overcrowded on offence coupled with bad shot selection and rushing the ball, the X-Men were slow getting back on defence. Making some changes on defence, their focus changed for the better as they started feeding post-players Atik Gilao and Daniel Passley who combined for five baskets and successful trips to the free throw line widening the gap to put a lid on the game. X-men won the second encounter against the Sea-Hawks 88-81.