Ryan Blevins

Express Weekly – Windsor Draws Even on the Week

Windsor Express Struck by Lightning, Slay River Lions, go 1-1 on the Week.

The Windsor Express slayed the Niagara River Lions during the second game of a back-to-back home set. After both teams lost the night before fans saw some noticeable names left out of the lineup. Tony Bennett would start the night on the bench after scoring 32 points in the losing effort the previous night. For Niagara, they would be without the National Basketball League of Canada’s second leading scorer Logan Stutz for the entire game. Adrian Moss was able to knock down some clutch shots in the fourth quarter to give the Express a 108-103 win.

The Express may have won the war but Niagara took the battle on the offensive glass by a wide margin, out rebounding Windsor 20-9 offensively. After losing a Jan. 22 game to London in which Windsor was dominated on the glass it has been interesting to see how first year coach Tony Jones has used his front court players. Jan. 22 was the first game in nearly three weeks for Express forward Kirk Williams Jr who was away from the team dealing with an off-court issue. Williams Jr, who was a mainstay in the Express starting five before his departure, has assumed a bench role while attempting to get back into the swing of things.

“My body is going to be my body so it’s the same as before,” said Williams Jr “Im just trying to get back to where I was before I left. When I got back there was like 30 new plays so I had to relearn it all.”

Most fans are aware that the NBLC is a league where players bounce around from team to team quite often.  With players constantly moving around and rosters always changing it becomes tough on coaches to constantly teach new players the playbook. Paul Cooper was signed in an attempt to beef up the Express front court but saw just over three minutes against London and no time against Niagara. Not everyone can be Brandon Robinson who has started every game except one since signing with Windsor and has only gone on to lead the league in points per game and steals per game while averaging 25.2 points, 6 assists and 7.7 rebounds a night. With Windsor getting out rebounded on a nightly basis it will be interesting to see how the Windsor big men are mixed and matched in an attempt to tighten the rebounding gap moving forward.

A few fresh faces saw the floor against Niagara. Chris Matthews would start his first game for Windsor, replacing the resting Bennett. Jamal McQueen came off the bench and registered 5 points, an assist and a rebound on his seven and a half minutes of work. While both Matthews and McQueen making the most of their minutes both players may find it difficult seeing the floor as Windsor looks to make a run in the division. Even with the Express starters playing so well coach Jones says the players who perform the best will play the most.

“Those guys came in and contributed. It’s all about the coaching staff building some confidence in those guys and when they get on the floor that they’re productive. I can foresee them playing a lot more in the future,” said coach Jones

The Windsor Express is now 6-6 on the season and they are quickly approaching the third annual Clash at the Coliseum game on Feb. 3. This event is one of the biggest events in the NBLC and is a big hit with fans and casino players alike. The Express will travel to Niagara Jan. 28 and look to continue their reign over the River Lions. The Island Storm then come from out east and travel to Windsor to do battle with the Express on Friday, Jan. 29 at the WFCU centre.

Team Leaders
Points Per Game Brandon Robinson (25.2)
Rebounds Per Game Brandon Robinson (7.7)
Assists Per Game Adrian Moss (6.7)
Steals Per Game Brandon Robinson (3.1)
Blocks Per Game Chris Commons (1.8)