Entering last Sunday’s matchup, Dalhousie’s men’s basketball team had lost all three games this season against the St. FX X-Men. Well, you know what they say: the fourth time is the charm.
Dal snapped that losing streak with a tight 79 – 68 win at home Jan. 29. The victory was the second in three games for the Tigers, and puts them in fifth place in the league. The win, however, was over third-ranked St. FX, and shows that Dal can hang with the big boys.
Both teams came out shooting in the first quarter, highlighted by two 10-point showings. Third-year guard Casey Fox for the home squad scored 10 of his 16 in the first quarter, and second-year Terry Thomas countered with 10 of his team-high 17 points for the X.
With Dal down 20 – 18 at the end of the first quarter, the game promised to be a nail-biter. The Tigers were able to take the lead in the second quarter with help from two back-to-back three-pointers by William Yengue.
After going into halftime up 40 – 35, the Tigers came out aggressively, scoring 20 points in the third quarter. Player of the game Robert Nortmann led the way with six of his game-high 21 points, providing an inside presence the X-Men had no answer for. Defensively, Dal cooled down St. FX, which shot 51 per cent in the first half, by playing hard, but committing no fouls. With the X-Men unable to make up the difference at the free-throw line, the Tigers were able to inflate their lead to 14 points, 60 – 46.
Dal wound up needing every one of those 14 points, however, as St. FX came roaring back in the fourth. The X-Men started the quarter on a 16 – 4 run, dwindling their deficit to two points, 64 – 62. St. FX’s run was helped by a meltdown on the defensive end by the Tigers, whose no foul streak ended when they committed four in less than two minutes.
The final foul was on a three-point attempt by X guard Marquis Clayton, forcing Dal head coach John Campbell to take a timeout to scold his team. Clayton managed to miss two of three subsequent foul shots, giving the Tigers just the breathing room they needed. The X-Men’s valiant comeback would come no closer than those two points. Dal forced the visiting squad into foul trouble, riding out the win at the free-throw line.
Nortmann added 14 boards to go with his 21 points, helping Dal win the battle for rebounds in the paint.
Four points are on the line Feb. 4 when the Tigers visit the UPEI Panthers at 8 p.m.