(WINDSOR, ON) - The Windsor Express played their third home game of the season Wednesday, welcoming rivals London Lightning. Coming into the game the Express were winless in two trips to Budweiser Gardens in London. This was the return of long time Express centre DeAndre Thomas to the WFCU Centre. Known by many fans as D-Train, Thomas ranks sixth in points scored and fifth in games played in Express franchise history.
The first 24 minutes was a competitive and mostly whistle-free half of basketball. London went an outstanding 14-23 from the field in the first quarter, manifesting a 16 point first quarter lead. Former Express guard Ryan Anderson was a man on a mission scoring 13 points in the first half alone. Windsor struggled to defend both the perimeter and in transition throughout the first half.
The lone bright spot for the Express through the first two quarters was the electric play of guard Maurice Jones. Finishing at half with 12 points, 4 assists and 5 rebounds would not seem extraordinary, but the 5'7" Jones has exceeded all expectations while filling in for the injured Darren Duncan. A solid defensive second quarter allowed Windsor to shrink London's lead to 49-41 by halftime.
London was without forward Garrett Williamson in the second half, who exited the game with a leg injury during the second quarter. Nick Evans was the subject of a scary moment early in the third. The Express big man chased a ball heading out of bounds and hit the ground hard in his pursuit. Evans would walk off under his own power and return to the game later in the quarter.
The Windsor crowd finally had something to cheer about when the Express went on a 9-3 run to end the third quarter, capped off by an alley-oop dunk lobbed by Quinnel Brown and finished off by Lester Prosper. Brandon Kearney took over with the clock winding down, going 2-2 from three in the fourth quarter. Windsor took their first lead with under six minutes to go in the game on a pick-and-pop jumper from Jones. That lead did not last long, and with London leading by 2 and five seconds to go, London's Julian Boyd was intentionally fouled. Though London shot an unimpressive 21-29 from the charity stripe, Boyd hit both foul shots, resulting in a 91-87 Lightning victory.
This was Windsor's first loss at home and sixth loss overall this season. They are now three games under .500.
Windsor's top performer was Maurice Jones with a stat line of 16 points, 7 assists and 8 rebounds.
DeAndre Thomas scored a team high 17 points in his first home game for Windsor in over a year.
London's Royce White put up 12 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists, while Ryan Anderson added a game high 25 points and a 6-12 three point shooting performance.