What a difference three weeks made for the men's basketball Mounties who started ACAA league play with a 0-2 record. The Mounties now have four consecutive wins, springing them into ACAA 1st place; as well as, cracking CCAA National rankings (13th) for the first time this season. It was Mount Allison University's "Fill the Gym Night" initiative on Friday, and the jam-packed McCormack gymnasium was loud and proud. In a hard-fought battle our men's basketball Mounties earned a dramatic come-from-behind win, 78-71 over the 15th place, nationally ranked Crandall Chargers. This marks the men's basketball Mounties' fourth-straight ACAA contest win.
At the onset the Chargers dropped a triple to take the lead and immediately thereafter the Mounties' 6'6 Kingston native and leading game scorer, Sam Pearson, added a deuce to close the gap, 3-2, for the Chargers. The Mounties trailed 41-34 at half and in the final quarter of the game with 15 minutes left, the Mounties were down by 16 points, 55-39. Closing fast on the final minutes of the game, the Mounties were down 6 and much to the crowds pleasure our Mounties outscored the Chargers 27-14; to earn the hard-fought win and notably in front of a boisterous hometown crowd.
With a whopping 18 points and 9 game rebounds the Mounties' second-year forward, Sam Pierson of Kingston, Ontario, led the team in the win. Noah McCarthy followed closely with 14-points while Toronto native and first-year guard, Emanuel Adugna, came off the bench adding 13 points; including a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line - many of which were in the game's final minutes! Other key contributors include Emmanuel Octavious with 7 points and 3 rebounds, Brett Curtis added 6 points, Diangelo Woodside ripped down 8 rebounds and added 7 points while Mack Chisholm added 5, Ite Adekeye 3, James French 3 points and 4 rebounds while Trevor Schulz rounded it out with a deuce.
Leading the Chargers were Colby Lawrence with 22 points, Dan Maxwell with 16 and Robert Pillow 13.
According to Coach Steve Chapman, "the student support was amazing, and I am not sure I have heard our gym that loud since we hosted ACAA's three years ago. There is no question our fans were a key factor in motivating the team to push through, when it looked so bleak and the team was down by 16 in the third quarter. Statistically, we had no business winning that game as we only shot 30% from the field, 25% from the 3-point line and only managed 69% of the free throws. The guys hung in there and kept chipping away, they made the defensive stops, key shots and timely free throws when it mattered most, and many of which came from players off the bench. That is a sign of a good basketball team, when you can pull out a game like that when you haven't played your best. Our guys just battled hard and got it done. Was pleased for them."
Next up on Saturday, November 30th, the Mounties host the MSVU Mystics; who come into this game after winning two in a row following their 0-3 start. This is the first contest between these two teams since the Mounties' victory over the Mystics at the 2018-19 ACAA semi-final. As Chapman says, "it's an important game and both teams will want to win their last game heading into the break. They have won two in a row, have suffered many injuries and we always play tough, competitive games against each other. It should be a good one"