HALIFAX (U SPORTS) – A double-double by David Muenkat led the No. 4-seeded STFX X-Men to a 77-65 upset over the top-seeded Victoria Vikes in the second semifinal of the 2023 U SPORTS Men’s Final 8 in Halifax, Saturday.
The X-Men came out quickly, building a 5-0 lead in the first few possessions. The fast pace kept up throughout the first 10 minutes, with the X-Men building a 26-14 lead before the end of the quarter.
Victoria went on a 10-4 run in the first four minutes of the second to cut into the X-Men lead. The loud Scotiabank Centre crowd favoured the tournament host X-Men, who looked to recover the momentum, but it was the Vikes who carried much of the quarter. Bennett Grumbach drained a buzzer beating three to end the half, sending the X-Men to the locker room with a 43-36 lead.
The X-Men came out with a 10-3 run in the first three minutes of the second half, stretching their lead to 14 points, their biggest margin of the game, with 6:43 to play in the third. However, UVic replied and cut the margin to seven at 61-54 after three quarters.
Victoria came out with some jump in the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to three points in the first two minutes. The X-Men replied with a 6-0 run of their own to restore their nine-point lead at 71-62 with 4:11 to go. The Vikes could draw no closer in the late stages as the X-Men completed the upset.
Victoria's Dominick Oliveri was the Nike Top performer for his team, bringing in 24 rebounds and chipping in three points. Diego Maffia led the Vikes in scoring with 20 points.
For the victorious X-Men, David Muenkat, the national defensive player of the year, scored 10 points and grabbed a team-high 19 rebounds to earn Nike Top Performer honours. Dondre Reddick and Avan Nava led the X-Men on the scoreboard with 17 points apiece.
Victoria now heads to the bronze medal game, where they will take on the Ottawa Gee-Gees at 2 p.m. (all times Atlantic) on Sunday. The X-Men will take on the Carleton Ravens in the Men’s Final 8 championship game at 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Nike Top Performers
- Victoria: Dominick Oliveri
- STFX: David Muenkat