The KW Titans sit in last place in the National Basketball League of Canada, but for whatever reason, the Kitchener, Ont.-based team has given the St. John’s Edge more trouble than any other opponent through the first half of the 2017-18 season.
The Titans are just 3-11 on the campaign, but two of their wins have come over the Edge, including a 94-86 decision in a daytime game Tuesday in Kitchener.
No other team has beaten St. John’s (11-6) twice this season.
What’s more, those two losses — the other had the Titans prevailing 99-92 in Kitchener in December — saw St. John’s post its lowest scoring totals of the season.
If they wanted, the Edge could cite factors contributing to Tuesday’s season-low offensive output.
They had beaten the Titans Friday and Saturday at Mile One Centre in St. John’s, but those games contributed to Tuesday’s matchup being the Edge’s fifth game — with travel — in a week.
They were also playing a second straight game without leading scorer Carl English who had suffered a fractured nose in Friday’s game against the Titans and did not play in Saturday’s contest. Concern over concussion-like symptoms and the need for follow-up testing kept him from travelling with the team Monday and as of Tuesday evening, there was no word when or if he would be rejoining the Edge, who continue what will be a five-game road trip tonight (8:30 p.m. NT) against the league leading and defending champion London Lightning (12-5).
Tuesday’s game also had an unusual start time — 11 a.m. — to allow for the attendance of schoolchildren.
But while the contest started early, the Edge certainly didn’t, missing their first four shots en route to scoring just nine points in the first quarter — their lowest-scoring quarter of the season.
By halftime, St. John’s trailed 51-30 and although the Edge did outscore the Titans 56-43 in the second half, at no time did the visitors lead the game.
Forward Charles Hinkle led the Edge with a double-double that included a game-high 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Desmond Lee, who has taken over as a starting guard in place of the recently-released Rashaun Broadus — had 13 points for St. John’s.
Guard Wally Ellenson had 12 points in 27 minutes of play off the bench, while Grandy Glaze had 10 points but was limited to three boards.
Alex Johnson had nine assists and seven rebounds while St. John’s, while point guard Coron Williams, added to the roster with the departure of Broadus, had nine points, 2 rebounds in his first game with the Edge.
KW actually attempted (72 to St. John’s 79) and made (29 to 32) fewer shots than their opponents, but the Titans benefitted from getting 15 more points on three-pointers than St. John’s and getting to the free-throw line nine more times than the visitors.
Kevin Rogers also recorded a double-double and led the Titans with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Tramar Sutherland added 14 points and eight rebounds.
It certainly won’t get any easier tonight for the Edge.
St. John’s did beat London twice at Mile One in early December, but the Lightning triumphed in their last meeting, a pre-Christmas matchup in Ontario. That kicked off what’s become a 10-game win streak for the defending champs.