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St. John's Edge's sights were off in loss to Titans

K-W Titans photo via St. John's Edge/Twitter — It was tough night offensively for Carl English (23) and the St. John's Edge Wednesday in Kitchener, Ont., where they lost 99-92 to the K-W Titans.
K-W Titans photo via St. John's Edge/Twitter — It was tough night offensively for Carl English (23) and the St. John's Edge Wednesday in Kitchener, Ont., where they lost 99-92 to the K-W Titans.

Team has struggles with shot-making, falls to K-W in first game of road trip

It’s a quote that has occupied sports copy and been part of statements by athletes and coaches for years.
“There’s no such thing as an easy game.”
The veracity of that claim was made evident Wednesday night in Kitchener, Ont. ,where the St. John’s Edge, owners of the best record in the National Basketball League of Canada, lost 99-92 to the previously winless K-W Titans.
This was a matchup where St. John’s didn’t make it easy on itself.
The Edge (7-3) led just once. That was midway through the first quarter, when they were ahead 9-7. Other than that, it was catch-up all night for the visitors, a quest that was severely hamstrung by some ice-cold shooting.
Even then, St. John’s — which has never showed an inclination to roll over and die any time this season — closed to within two points on a Charles Hinkle three-pointers with just under two minutes left in the contest. Shortly afterwards, the Edge had shots at taking the lead, but three-point attempts by Rashaun Broadus and Alex Johnson wouldn’t go in. In fact, St. John’s missed its last five shots, while the Titans (1-3) registered the last five points of the contest to nail down their first victory of the 2017-18 campaign.
The consistent Hinkle led Edge in both points (22) and rebounds (13)  and was five-for eight on three-pointers. But it wasn’t enough from keeping St. John’s from finishing with its lowest point total of the season, especially given the difficulty the Edge had in getting shots to fall through the basket.
St. John’s entered Wednesday with a league-best shooting percentage of almost exactly 46 per cent through nine games. But in Kitchener, the Edge hit just 37 per cent (33 for 89) from the floor and only 11 for 38 on three-pointers. Prior to Wednesday, they had a 39 per cent success rate on treys.
Not surprisingly, there were corresponding dips in the stats for some of St. John’s best players.
Carl English had left St. John’s as the NBLC’s top scorer, but was held to 14 points in 39 minutes of play, about 12 less than his average. The Edge’s Grandy Glaze emerged from Wednesday maintaining the league lead in rebounds, but had only seven boards — his lowest one-game total this season — against the Titans (1-3).
Glaze and Jarion Henry joined English with 14-point games for the Edge, while Johnson came close to accompanying Hinkle in the double-double column with a dozen points and nine assists.
Ahmad Starks, with 22 points, and Rick Bodiford, who poured in 15 off the bench, topped K-W.
Former Memorial Sea-Hawks star Vasilije Curcic, signed by the Edge Tuesday, did not see any floor time on Wednesday, but that wasn’t a shocker. St. John’s head coach Jeff Dunlap had said he saw the three-game road trip which began in Kitchener, as a way for Curcic to acclimate himself to the team and suggested the former AUS all-star would probably be more ready to contribute after the Christmas break.
Wally Ellenson, who was also added to the St. John’s roster Tuesday, did see eight minutes of action, but didn’t have any points. Unlike Curcic, Ellenson has already played professionally this season — he suited up for three games in the G-League — and has NBL Canada experience, having been a member of the league’s all-rookie team in 2016-17 with the Windsor Express.
The Express (3-3) just happen to be the Edge’s next opponent — the teams will meet Friday night in Windsor. St. John’s plays its final game of the southern Ontario road swing — and their final contest of 2017 — Sunday afternoon against the defending champion London Lightning.

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