(FREDERICTON, NB) A 23-point first quarter deficit was just too much for the UNB Varsity Reds to overcome.
The Varsity Reds fell 103-92 to the Acadia Axemen, on Saturday.
Ben Miller scored 26 points, including five three pointers, to lead the Axemen. Kyle Arseneault added 24.
Matt Daley scored a game-high 27 points, including five three pointers of his own, to pace the Varsity Reds.
Miller and A.J. Simmonds both made two three pointers in the first quarter, as Acadia raced out to a 38-15 lead.
UNB began to claw their way back into the game in the second, but trailed 55-39 at the half.
"We just didn't play well tonight," said Javon Masters. "Full credit to Acadia, they shot really well."
Masters admits the Varsity Reds were flat.
"We just didn't come out with any energy. We were trying to force guys certain ways, they didn't do that, and they made us pay for it."
Acadia went on a 7-0 run to start the third quarter, stifling the Varsity Reds comeback attempt.
But, a 9-0 UNB run pulled the hosts to within 11.
Three Matt Daley three-point baskets brought the VReds to within five, but that's as close as UNB would get.
Free throws, down the stretch, would give the Axemen the cushion they'd need to preserve the win.
"The message was… compete level," said Axemen head coach Kevin Duffie. "We just had to make sure that we're competing at the level that it's going to take to compete next weekend and that's what we were trying to do, and I thought that we did that."
Acadia also had some luck on their side, as the usually-high scoring Masters picked up three first half fouls.
"The refs really called it tight. That's my fault, not adjusting to the style of play, their officiating, but Acadia executed their game plan really well."
Varsity Reds head coach Brent Baker says, after the first quarter, his team played a decent game.
"I thought, in the second quarter, we played with the energy that we have to."
A win would've moved UNB into second place in the AUS standings and earned them a first round bye, at next weekend's conference championship tournament.
"The only concern is the first game and that's Saint Mary's, and the home crowd, they're the home team and… you can't come out with that energy, that we had in the first quarter, in that situation."
The Varsity Reds go into the AUS championship tournament as the number four seed.
They the fifth ranked Saint Mary's Huskies in the quarter-finals.
That game goes Friday evening, at 6:30, at Scotiabank Centre, in Halifax.
Acadia meets Cape Breton, in the other quarter-final.