They're almost perfect on free throws, helping them down Sudbury 102-92 on Sunday, tying NBL Canada playoff series at 1-1
Just because something free, doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable.
The St. John’s Edge proved that Sunday afternoon at Mile One Centre as they downed the Sudbury Five 102-92 to tie their first-round National Basketball League of Canada playoff series at 1-1.
The best-of-five affair switches to Sudbury for matchups this coming Wednesday and Friday. If a Game 5 is required, it will be next Sunday, April 14 at Mile One.
After a woeful free-throw shooting performance (11-for-17) that was very much the difference in a 100-99 loss in Friday’s series opener, the Edge took almost full advantage of their chances from the charity stripe in Sunday’s rematch, making 22-for-23, including six straight in the last minute of the game.
The free-throw total was part of a balanced offensive attack by St. John’s, which had no less than seven players score in double figures in the game.
And that was just part of the story for the winners. The Edge prevailed in rebounding (53-46), assists (21-11) and blocks (9-5).
That’s not to say the expansion Five didn’t look capable of coming away from St. John’s with two wins. Sudbury led 60-53 at the half and were still up by two points after three quarters. Even after the Edge went ahead early in the final frame, the Five clawed back to tie the game 84-84 with seven-and-a-half minutes left.
However, after St. John’s went back in front on a Shaquille Keith jump shot, the home side remained ahead, although it fell into the “just remained” column on a couple of more occasions, including when the Five’s Cory Dixon made a jump shot with three minutes left to cut the Edge lead to 94-92.
But Sudbury didn’t score a single point after that, missing six shots — five of then three-pointers — down the stretch.
St. John’s meanwhile, got four rebounds, a successful layup by Keith, a Murphy Burnatowski block, a Dez Lee steal and those half-dozen clutch free throws (four by Lee) in the late stages to seal the deal.
Junior Cadougan led St. John’s with 17 points, while Burnatowski (16), Keith (14), Glen Davis (13) Isaiah Tate (12), Lee (11) and Olu Ashaolu were also in Sunday’s double-figure guild.
Lee and Keith each had 12 rebounds in the game, which was played before a crowd of just over 3,200.
By the way, Davis’s output (which included nine rebounds), came in just 21 minutes of floor time. After being assessed a loose-ball foul three minutes into the third quarter and questioning the call, the former NBA champion was assessed two technicals and ejected from the game.
While the Edge saw their scoring spread around the lineup, it was much different for Sudbury, which got three-quarters of its points from three players: Jaylen Brand (29), former Edge guard Maurice Jones (25) an Dixon (15).