Halifax, NS– The St. Francis Xavier University X-Men defeated the first-seeded University of Victoria Vikes 77-65 as the host team advances to the final.
The X-Men pulled through Saturday night at the Scotiabank Centre against the Vikes with 10 points and 19 rebounds from the U SPORTS Defensive Player of the Year, David Muenkat. Avan Nava also starred, dropping 17 points in the win.
Vikes star Diego Maffia ended the night with 20 points but shot 5-17 from the field and 1-11 from 3-point range. Muenkat and StFX head coach Tyrell Vernon attribute this to guard Steven Levnaic, who Vernon said did a similar job of holding the AUS MVP Elijah Miller to three points in the AUS final.
“I tell Steve [Levnaic] all the time he’s the real Defensive Player of the Year,” said Muenkat.
The Vikes scored 24 second-chance points against the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers Friday night but scored just six against the X-Men.
“That’s been a strength of ours all year. We got to attack the glass as best as possible,” said Vernon.
Muenkat battled his ankle injury again as he subbed out of the game a few times and went to locker room in the third quarter. He returned and looked just fine at the end of the game, crashing the glass hard.
“I’m good to go,” said Muenkat. “I got to be a leader for this team. If I can walk, I can play.”
The X-Men’s defence continues to suffocate opponents as the Vikes shot just 27.6 per cent for the game from the field.
The X-Men take on the Ravens tomorrow at 6 p.m. ADT to decide who will be crowned national champions.
“We have a lot of respect for Carleton. They’ve been here several times. Obviously, they’re a program that knows how to win, but again, we’re focused on ourselves. We’re here for a reason, too,” said Muenkat.
The Vikes will battle the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees for bronze tomorrow at 2 p.m. ADT.