1971-‘72 Mens Basketball Team

Despite being the defending national champions, Acadia began the 1971-1972 men’s basketball season with some major holes to fill. In fact, only five players remained from the roster that had dominated the nation the previous season.

Fortunately, two of those players were Steve Pound and Gary Folker, who represented a solid foundation on which to build. Other returnees included Paul Talbot and Jon Beausang, both of whom would ‘graduate’ to the starting lineup and physical forward Tom Farrington.

The newcomers included highly regarded Nova Scotian Joey Wells, Glenn Taylor, George Beattie, John McGrattan, Sean Casey, Roy Mercer and John Godden.

Pre-season expectations were mixed, but when all was said and done, an Axemen team picked by many to finish no better than third “fooled the experts,” as the season wrap-up in the Acadia Bulletin suggested, romping to another conference title with an 11-1 regular season record.

Pound scored at a 20.3 point-per-game clip, good for a share of the conference scoring title with Saint Mary’s rookie Mickey Fox.
Wells had an immediate impact, averaging 14 points (on 55.5 per cent shooting) and almost eight rebounds per game as a freshman. He joined Pound on the conference all-star squad.

Folker averaged 11 points a game and led the team in rebounding. Beausang and Talbot showed steady improvement and McGrattan, Beattie and Taylor had solid rookie seasons.

The Axemen scored 971 points in 12 games and allowed just 647. Only a 70-64 loss to SMU kept Acadia from a second straight unbeaten season.

At that time, the conference champion advanced directly to nationals, so Acadia was off to Vancouver, where they opened the four-team national tournament with an 85-67 win over the McGill Redmen.

Pound led the way with 28 points, continuing a solid season that made him the Axemen career scoring leader and the first-ever Acadia player to score 2,000 career points.

In the final, Acadia’s number one national ranking was balanced out by UBC playing on its home court.

Pound’s 29 points, 19 from Beattie and 18 from Folker turned out to be not quite enough in an 87-80 defeat. Axemen Paul Talbot received kudos for his job defending UBC’s leading scorer Ron Thorsen.
Pound, Talbot and Beausang all fouled out as the Axemen were whistled for a whopping 30 fouls, leading some, including Chronicle-Herald reporter Tom Peters, to question the impartiality of the officiating.

Despite the conclusion, 1971-72 stood as one of Acadia’s most successful men’s basketball seasons to that point, and remains so almost 40 years later.

Please join me in welcoming to the Acadia Sports Hall of Fame, in the team category, the 1971-1972 Acadia men’s basketball team, which exceeded all expectations and brought national recognition to the school.