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Score another win for the Edge: Hinkle, English lead St. John's over London

Keith Gosse/The Telegram — Alex Johnson of the St. John's Edge drives to the basket against Bryan Akinkugbe (11) of the London Lightning during NBL Canada action at Mile One Centre Tuesday night. The Edge won 126-123.
Keith Gosse/The Telegram — Alex Johnson of the St. John's Edge drives to the basket against Bryan Akinkugbe (11) of the London Lightning during NBL Canada action at Mile One Centre Tuesday night. The Edge downed the Lightning 126-123. The teams meet up again tonight at Mile One.

Home team squeaks by defending NBL Canada champion Lightning 126-123 at Mile One

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Tuesday night at Mile One Centre, Charles Hinkle provided plenty of proof to back up his selection earlier in the day as the National Basketball League of Canada Central Division player of the week.

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Carl English, who earned the same honours last week, did the same, although it took it him just a little bit longer.

Hinkle had 31 points and English added 28 as the Edge (6-2) held on to defeat the defending NBL Canada champion London Lightning 126-123 before a crowd of just under 2,000 at Mile One.

Keith Gosse/the telegram — Charles Hinkle of the St. John's Edge up for two of his team-leading 31 points against the London Lightning Tuesday night at Mile One Centre. Earlier in the day, Hinkle had been named NBL Canada's Central Division player of the week,
Keith Gosse/The Telegram — Charles Hinkle of the St. John's Edge up for two of his team-leading 31 points against the London Lightning Tuesday night at Mile One Centre. Earlier in the day, Hinkle had been named NBL Canada's Central Division player of the week,

Defensive play didn't make many highlights at either end of the court Tuesday, although the visitors keyed on English in the first half, holding him to just two shot attempts and three points. But three other guards — Rashaun Broadus, Alex Johnson and Colton Ray — along with Hinkle, helped fill in the gaps. Those four all hit double digits in scoring in the first 24 minutes of the contest.

Any lock on English’s offence must have been jimmied during the intermission; he had 25 points in the last two quarters. However, the Lightning also had their own second-half scoring demon in Ryan Anderson, who had a game-high 34 points, no fewer than 24 of them coming in the final stanza.

What made that performance even more remarkable was that there had been some question as to whether Anderson, who has been suffering with a hip injury, would even make the trip to Newfoundland. The Lightning had to be glad the 29-year-old product of the University of Nebraska did, as he led an effort that allowed London to gnaw away at what had been a double-digit St. John’s lead and even go ahead with about five minutes left in the contest.

But English hit a three-pointer to put the Edge back in front and the home side never trailed again, although London (1-3) came very close to pulling out a comeback win, in large part because of Anderson. He had a nine points in the last 40 seconds on two three-pointers and three successful free throws after he was fouled while shooting from beyond the arc. But after English hit two free throws with eight seconds left, Anderson and Martin Dixon-Green missed three-point attempts that would have tied the game.

As a result, St. John’s improved to 3-0 at home.

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Rashaun Broadus added 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Edge, who also got 14 boards from Grandy Glaze and eight from English.

Alex Johnson had a game-high eight assists for St. John’s. He, along with Ray, had 13 points.

Anderson had the night’s only double-double, grabbing 11 rebounds for London. Kirk Williams Jr., with 20 points, and Bryan Akinkugbe, with 17, were the other scoring leaders for the Lightning, who have a rematch with the Edge 7 p.m. tonight at Mile One.

For that one, London will have reigning league MVP Royce White, who was serving a one-game league suspension Tuesday as a result of an incident in a game last week.

White leads the Lightning with an average of nearly 22 points in his first three games.

Tonight’s game will be the last home contest for the Edge in 2017, who play three road games in Ontario next week and then go on a lengthy break — after that, their next game won’t be until Jan. 9.

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Notes: The Edge had the advantage almost everywhere offensively Tuesday, hitting on just over of 50 percent of their shots and doing even better on three-pointers, going 18-for 35 in that regard … The Lightning threw up 14 more shots, including five more from beond the three-point line,  but were hurt in the accuracy department (46.3 shooting overall, and 32.5 percent on three-pointer) … Both teams left points at the free-throw line, with London going 22-for-33 and Edge 26-for-40 in that department … After Tuesday’s game, English and Hinkle sit second and fourth in league scoring, averaging 26.7 and 22 points, respectively … Glaze is the NBL Canada top rebounder — his 14 boards Tuesday are exactly his league average

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