The UNB Varsity Reds men's basketball team came back from behind at nearly the last minute to capture a second win against St.FX this weekend, besting the X-Men 85-84. The Varsity Reds won yesterday's match-up as well, with a score of 98-74.
But if the V-Reds dominated play yesterday, it was a much different story out on the court this go around with UNB trailing for the vast majority of the game. St. FX went into half-time up eleven points (29-18) and with a strong defensive strategy that kept UNB at bay.
Halfway through the third quarter, a couple of three-pointers from Jordan Irvine and Will McFee brought the score to within seven (54-47). From then on it seemed the game was all about the three-pointers for the V-Reds, who made eight three-point shots in the second half. UNB currently leads the league in three-pointers by a seriously comfortable margin. So far this season they've sunk 71 of 185 attempts. Acadia is second with 47 from 134.
The game would hover around a one-point differential halfway through the fourth quarter. UNB got a massive confidence boost when Javon Masters took a steal from McFee almost the length of the court to a slam dunk with three minutes left on the clock. UNB took the lead 80-78. The last seven points of the game for the Varsity Reds all came from Masters, as they managed to take the lead and hold on to a 85-84 victory.
Leading the scoring for UNB was Masters with 23 points, followed closely by McFee with 21. Jordan Tyrrell was dominant for St.FX, posting 26 points. Cameron Walker was a force for the X-Men as well, with an incredible 16 rebounds.
UNB head coach Brent Baker says he knew this game was going to be a tough one going in and there's no doubt St.FX put up a good challenge.
"They played a lot of zone. They forced us into things we weren't used to," Baker said. "They played a little bit of full-court press which ate the clock up. That led to some hurried shots and shots that we normally don't hurry. We just started thinking too much instead of playing. So that's good game strategy by them."
As for the flurry of three-point shots, Baker acknowledges that UNB likes to take their chances from the periphery. He's quick to add, though, that that doesn't mean it's always the best strategy.
"When you live and die on the three-point ball, it can keep you in games and it can get you out of games in a hurry. The big thing is we didn't play enough solid defence to give ourselves a chance."
But don't expect the V-Reds to put those shots back on the shelf any time soon.
"The three-point shot is here," Baker said. "If you don't utilize it, then you're being foolish."
The Varsity Reds play next on Friday, November 28, when they travel to play Cape Breton at 8pm.
The X-Men host UPEI at the same time.