Express fall to River Lions 111-90
December 22, 2017
(WINDSOR, ON) – The Windsor Express welcomed Logan Stutz’s former team, the Niagara River Lions, to their home court Thursday night.
The Express were quick out of the gate with a Braylon Rayson trey, but play was even between the teams through the 1st quarter. Just a single point separated them after 12 minutes, 23-22 in Niagara’s favour. The Lions added to their lead to start the 2nd quarter with a 13-2 run, before Express head coach called time. Returning from the huddle, Brayson hit for 3 to get the Express back on track.
Two big plays on defense by Devin White, a block and a tipped pass, helped to break up Niagara’s stream. Still, Windsor had dug themselves into a 10-point hole with 5:30 on the clock. Niagara benefited from the long ball as Windsor battled in the paint the hard way. By the time Desmond Hubert put away a Stutz triple attempt, the Express were trailing by 20 points with under a minute to play in the half, 57-37.
By the horn, Windsor had a 18-point deficit to erase.
“We’ve got a lot of things we have to work on,” Stutz said after the game. “I know we have about 9 days to figure it out, but we gotta get back to being a team and being tougher as a unit.”
Despite two buckets from Stutz to open the 3rd quarter, Niagara replied with two from outside. Under pressure or not, it seemed like Niagara couldn’t miss from downtown. The Lions began to run away with the score as they hit 80-58 with 2 minutes to play. Even though the Lions missed two from a foul at the buzzer, they were able to stake themselves to an 86-66 lead with 12 minutes to play.
“Omar Strong really put a gap in between in the 1st half and we tried to come back, but they had a lot of answers,” said Stutz. “They seemed to be one step ahead of us and we couldn’t get a step ahead of them.”
With a burst, Windsor tightened the defense and strung together a series of baskets. After 4 minutes they had whittled away Niagara’s lead to 12. Then the Lions responded, pushing the bulge back to 22. Although Windsor played from behind for most of the game, the fans in attendance remained throughout and continued to loudly show their appreciation for the Windsor effort. The crowd especially responded when Hubert threw down a two-handed slam on a pass from Shaquille Keith.
By the end of regulation, the Express had slipped to a 111-90 lose to the Lions. The 1st half proved their undoing as they just couldn’t recover from the 20-point deficit. Stutz put the onus for the loss squarely on the players and wouldn’t hear of any talk of how injuries may have played a part.
“I don’t it plays a part,” he said. “We still had a chance and our opportunities. I don’t think that’s an excuse for us. It was just focus and getting our rhythm and that would have carried over to both ends of the floor, but we just didn’t have it.”
Windsor’s next home game is scheduled for December 29 when they are at the London Lightning at 7pm.