By John DeCoste
The Acadia basketball Axemen will adjust to the absence of Owen Klassen, and may even end up a better team in the long-term because of it.
In the short-term, Klassen’s joining Anthony Sears and Rhys Larry on the injured list and a fired-up bunch of UPEI Panthers turned out to be too much for the Axemen as they suffered their first regular season loss, 84-69 Saturday in Wolfville.
Acadia scored the game’s first seven points, but UPEI adjusted to take a 22-14 lead after one quarter. The Axemen won the second quarter 17-14 thanks to some hot shooting from the perimeter, but still trailed 36-31 at halftime.
After the intermission, the Panthers took the third quarter 25-19 and the fourth 23-19 to win by 15 in front of a large crowd.
Jonathan Tull led Acadia with 21 points, including a trio of three-pointers, and Anthony Ashe added 16 before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
Tyler Scott finished with 10 points and eight rebounds, and Tom Filgiano also had a strong game, pulling down nine rebounds to go along with six points.
Terrence Brown led four UPEI players in double figures with 17 points. Mandrez Downey and Deontay Smith each added 16 (and combined for five of UPEI’s nine three-pointers) and Geoff Doane added 13 points.
Smith, who played a strong game, also had 13 rebounds as the Panthers won the rebounding battle 64-48. UPEI shot 39.5 per cent from the floor to Acadia’s 36.1.
The game was notable in that nine Nova Scotian players were in uniform – A.J. Simmonds, Scott, Kyle Jennex and Shaquille Smith for Acadia, and Smith, Downey, Doane and Horton grads Joe Kendrick and Lorenzo Parker for UPEI.
The game also marked the only visit of the season to Wolfville for UPEI head coach (and long-time Horton mentor) Tim Kendrick. A large number of Kendrick supporters were on hand to cheer on the coach and his two former Horton players.
The Axemen, who dropped to 6-1 with the four-point loss, are back in action Friday, Jan. 11 when they host the Dalhousie Tigers in Wolfville. The Tigers are coming off an 85-59 win Jan. 5 over St. F.X.