Two years make a big difference, and so does a career shooting night.
The Acadia Axemen turned the tables on the UBC Thunderbirds, who knocked them out of the CIS Final 8 in 2011, by earning an 89-80 victory Friday night thanks to 29 points from second year guard Tyler Scott.
Scott finished 10 for 12 from the floor, including 7 of 8 from downtown, propelling the Axemen to the national semifinal against the winner of Carleton and Victoria.
The Thunderbirds started the second half on a 9-2 to run to make it 41-40 Acadia, but the Axemen responded with a frenetic finish to the quarter that saw Scott drain a long fadeway three — his sixth of the night — to make it 64-57 Axemen through three quarters.
UBC would get within five with 4:40 remaining on a basket from Tommy Nixon, but couldn’t close the gap as Acadia pulled away for the eight-point victory. Jordan Jensen-Whyte missed a wide open three-pointer that would have brought the Thunderbirds within three points with just over 30 seconds to go, then Acadia’s Anthony Ashe drilled a long two to make it 86-78, effectively ending UBC’s hopes.
Scott’s incredible performance saw him go six-for-six in the first half, including four threes. The second year guard would not miss a shot until 5:45 in the third quarter on the way to his 29-point outburst, while standout big man Owen Klassen contributed 15 points for the Axemen, including three powerful dunks.
The Thunderbirds managed to shoot just 41% from the floor and made 18 turnovers, often looking impatient with their shot selection and passing in a fast-paced game. The Axemen shot 47% and were propelled by Scott’s stellar 7-for-8 performance from long range, leading to an effective field-goal percentage of 53.9%, in addition to their superb 20-for-23 shooting at the free-throw line.
O’Brian Wallace led UBC with 26 points, while Brylle Kamen added 16 of his own.
Acadia faces a potential second round matchup with Carleton, the team that knocked them out in the first round last year and are heavy favourites to win their CIS-record ninth national title (at the time of writing, the Ravens held a 42-19 halftime lead).