Saturday night at Mile One Centre, a broken nose meant Carl English didn’t have a chance to straighten out a shooting stroke that went a bit awry the last couple of games.
But English’s teammate, Charles Hinkle, did get an opportunity for the same sort of scoring redemption and the St. John’s Edge forward certainly made the most of it, putting up a game-high 31 points as the Edge (11-5) downed the KW Titans 109-99 for their seventh win in eight home games this National Basketball League of Canada season.
A crowd of 4,649, the second-biggest at Mile One this season, took in the game.
English leads the Edge in scoring average and sits second overall in the NBLC, but the 36-year-old from Patrick’s Cove had some struggles the last two games, going just seven-for-23 from the floor in Wednesday’s 105-103 win over the Windsor Express and five-for-18 as the Edge downed the Titans from Kitchener-Waterloo 120-113 on Friday. What’s more, the league’s busiest three-point shooter,was three-for 24 overall in the two games.
Then again, there was a rational explanation for English’s travails on Friday — he took an elbow to the face in the opening quarter and it turned out it had resulted in a nose fracture.
English was held out of Saturday’s rematch, as much for concern about a possible concussion as the damaged beak.
Hinkle, who is fifth in league scoring, had also scuffled a bit in the last couple of outings, going eight-for-27 overall and three-for-12 on Friday when he had just nine points, the first time this season he hadn’t scored in double figures.
It turned out to be a temporary aberration. Hinkle shot a solid 50 percent (12-for-24) Saturday and was even better on three-pointers, where he hit seven of 12.
St. John’s also got sterling efforts from Alex Johnson, with 18 points and a game-high 12 assists, and another double-double from Desmond Lee, who had 15 points and a team-leading dozen rebounds.
Tyler Haws, getting his first start in four games since joining St. John’s earlier this week, added 10 points.
Wally Ellerson and Jarion Henry topped non-starters for the home side, each scoring eight points off the bench, with Henry also delivering eight rebounds.
Ahmad Starks topped KW (2-11) with 23 points, while Derek added 22 points and 17 rebounds.
The Titans held the lead for the greater part of Saturday's game, but the Edge went ahead with a little over a minute remaining in the third quarter and never gave up the lead after that point.
St. John’s won’t have much time to savour the victory.
The Edge head out onto the road early next week for what looks to be a withering schedule of five games in six days, beginning with a Tuesday-night matchup in Kitchener against these same Titans.