(Windsor, ON) - Making their only appearance at the WFCU Centre this season were the Saint John Riptide. This was a battle of two second place team, with Saint John three games behind Halifax in the Atlantic Division. There were several familiar faces dawning the Riptide uniform Saturday, including former Express players Chris Commons, Jahmal McQueen and Alex Campbell.
Both teams went cold to begin the game, scoring a combined ten points in the first four minutes of the game. It was not long after before the Riptide hit their stride and snagged their first double digit lead of the game mid-way through the first quarter. Saint John carried that lead into the second quarter and led by 15 at the half. Windsor shot an atrociously low 33 per cent from the field and 15 per cent from beyond the arch in the first quarter, one of their worst shooting performances of the year. Shaquille Keith was putting opposing players through the spin cycle early and doing great work getting the ball inside.
Trailing 52-37 entering the third quarter, Juan Pattillo began to take over. The Express forward finished the quarter with 20 points on 9-16 shooting from the floor and even adding a three. Maurice Jones hit a three ball in transition to end the third quarter, but Windsor still trailed by double digits. Luckily, Tony Bennett was just heating up from beyond the arch.
The comeback began with a wide open three by Keith. Windsor's success continued from beyond the arch as Bennett followed up with a pair of three's. What was once a 20 point lead was cut down to a two point deficit. Bennett would go on to hit three total shots from beyond the arch in the final quarter. Turnovers were costly for Windsor in the final minutes of the game. Carelessness with the basketball was the main cause for Saint John extending their lead past five points in the final two minutes. Darren Duncan added to the shootout, hitting a clutch three of his own to shorten the Saint John lead. Wally Ellenson brought the crowd to their feet after generating a turnover and running a one man fast break ending in a dunk which brought the lead down to one point.
Windsor picked an inopportune time to struggle at the free throw line, missing some key free throws down the stretch. Windsor could not complete the comeback, losing 111-107.
Tony Bennett was the player of the game in Windsor's loss with a stat line of 22 points and four assists on 6-15 shooting from beyond the arch.
Windsor now hits the road for a pair of games against two Central Division rivals. Next for Windsor is a game against the Orangeville A's on Friday, April 14.