It looked like it might become one of the St. John’s Edge’s greatest wins of the season.
In the end, however, it could only be classified as a valiant comeback attempt.
The league-leading Halifax Hurricanes held off the Edge for a 116-114 win in NBL Canada action Tuesday night at Mile One Centre, where the home side nearly rallied for a victory despite playing with a lineup that was short by two players, including guard Carl English, the team’s and the circuit’s leading scorer.
English, who registered a league-record 58 points Saturday night at Mile One as St. John’s defeated the KW Titans, was given what was described by the team as a “rest day.”
Tuesday’s game was the third of a six-game homestand played over 10 days and which continues with a rematch against the Hurricanes (22-10) Wednesday night (7 o’clock start).
The London Lightning (21-11), who lead the Central Division just ahead of the Edge (20-12), are in St. John’s this weekend.
On Tuesday, the Edge were also without power forward Grandy Glaze, serving a one-game league-imposed suspension for leaving the bench to inject himself into a midcourt fracas in Saturday’s contest.
With Glaze out, St. John’s dressed just 10 players.
Glaze normally fills one of the mandated five spots for Canadians in the lineup and with no other domestic players available to enter the active roster, he could not be replaced by a non-Canadian.
So, while Ryan Reid was activated by the Edge before Tuesday’s game that also meant that fellow American forward Xavier Ford had to be deactivated to create an opening.
Despite the roster shortfall and the absence of English’s prolific offence, St. John’s nearly pulled off a victory.
The Edge led 34-24 after a strong first quarter, but the Hurricanes were ahead 61-54 at the halftime break, a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
They almost did, however.
St. John’s, down by as many as 18 points early in the fourth quarter, kept nibbling away at the margin. In the last 73 seconds of the contest alone, the Edge forced a couple of turnovers and had 10 points, half of them from guard Alex Johnson. But it was all for naught as St. John’s last shot, a frantic attempt by Russell Byrd to make what would have been a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer, wouldn’t go in.
Johnson led St. John’s across the stats line with 30 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Reid added 17 points, while Charles Hinkle and Coron Williams, the latter off the bench, each had 16.
Billy White of Halifax had a game-high 31 points and 15 rebounds, while veteran Cliff Clinkscales had 20 points and 10 assists. Mike Poole, with 20 points, was the Hurricanes’ top bench player.