Express win Season Opener
November 18, 2017
(KITCHENER, ON) – It had been six months since the Windsor Express and the Kitchen-Waterloo Titans had met in NBLC play. Then, Windsor prevailed 105-104 to eliminate the Titans from the 2016-17 playoffs. At the time, Windsor Express veteran Darren Duncan was on the winning side. This season, Duncan has a change of scenery as a member of the Titans.
During training camp, Express head coach Bill Jones told the assembled players that the goal every game was to not only score 100 points but to keep opponents under that mark. This year’s edition of the Express delivered, but it wasn’t without a learning curve.
The two sides opened the 2017-18 season in Kitchener tonight with Windsor picking up their first win of the season, 116-98.
The opening 12 minutes was marred by early season inaccuracy and sloppy scrambles by both teams. For the longest time K-W led 6-2 until a 12-4 run by Windsor gave the Express the lead midway through the quarter. Hitting from both outside and in the paint, Windsor was the first team to find their shooting from the field.
The Express quickly expanded their lead to 10 points by the end of the quarter and carried their dominance through to the 2nd. Less than 2 minutes into the 2nd period Windsor jumped into a 31-21 lead. A trey by the Titans was followed by a jumper reply from Windsor. Both clubs continued to push up the score, though Windsor was able to maintain the 10-point margin. With 2 minutes left on the clock, Windsor found themselves in front 51-41 and pressuring inside for more.
At half time, K-W managed to claw back just 2 points as Windsor enjoyed a 55-47 lead and a well-earned rest.
Kitchener started the 2nd half on a roll and quickly cut Windsor’s lead to just 5 by the 10-minute mark. The Titans seemed to complete passes and make the shots despite any defense Windsor had to offer in response. By the time Coach Jones called a time out at just under 9 minutes, the Titans had narrowed the score to 57-56 in favour of the Express. Returning to the floor saw point guard Maurice Jones uncharacteristically turn over the ball twice on two trips up court. The Titans capitalized by taking a 58-57 lead.
With the majority of the quarter under the bridge, Windsor connected on two from downtown and seemed to have found a response to the rejuvenated Titans. With less than a minute to play in the frame, and Windsor had set aside the Kitchener lead as well as re-established their 10-point lead. By the conclusion of the act, Windsor had survived the onslaught and led 87-75.
Kitchener again changed tactics and began the final act by taking the play inside the arc in head-to-head battles with the Express. Windsor responded rapidly by moving into a 97-80 lead within the first 4 minutes. At 7:10, Windsor surpassed the 100-point mark with a trey and made it a 20-point spread. The Titans responded with a time out.
The frustration of the Titan players could be seen with every foul committed en route to a 35-point Windsor lead.
Canadian starting forward Shaquille Keith dropped a game-high 25 points for Windsor on 50% shooting from the field and a perfect 7-for7 from the line. Newcomer Devin White picked up a double-double with 23 points and 12 points.
Remarkable, Jones successfully logged his own double-double by putting up 18 points and dishing off 16 assists. The other of the starting 5, Logan Stutz and Braylon Rayson contributed 14 and 15 points, respectively.
Coach Jones received 21 points from his bench including 7 from Michael Acheampong.
With the win under their belt, the Express will return home to sort out the areas of concern which were evident from tonight. They’ll return to the court on November 25 when they host the Halifax Hurricanes at 7pm. Tickets are available for the match from the Windsor Express website.