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If the Windsor Express could weather the storm outside, they sure could do it inside. They welcomed the Halifax Rainmen to the Colosseum at Caesar’s Windsor for its second clash Wednesday night. Thanks to an incredible defensive performance, they were able to hold the opponents to less than 70 points on the night. The Express would go on to defeat the Rainmen 95-68.
Quinnel Brown led the Express with 18 points. DeAndre Thomas scored 13 points. Ryan Anderson and Kevin Loiselle each had 12 points, with Loiselle also grabbing 9 rebounds. Josh Collins had 4 steals on the night.
The Express were without two key components in Chris Commons (knee) and Gary Gibson (lower body).
Halifax got on the board first and was all over Windsor early. Kevin Young slammed down two alley-oops to stun the crowd and frustrate the players. He and the Rainmen were picking Windsor apart in the early stages, especially with their double-teams. The Express fought through the obstacles and slowly caught up. Late in the quarter, Josh Collins picked off a pass before sending the ball up-court to Ryan Anderson. He then tossed the ball to an airborne Kirk Williams Jr for an alley-oop dunk of his own. The play sent the fans into an uproar as Windsor just shifted the energy of the game. The Express were up 17-14 after one.
Early on in the second, Windsor’s defense stepped up and was holding Halifax back. The Express began to take control of the game and scored the quarter’s first three baskets. Contrarily to the first, they were all over the Rainmen. The team forced turnovers and pressured for timely steals that forced Halifax into a timeout. out of the short break, the Rainmen hit a pair of three-pointers and were catching up to the Express. Despite an Erik Parker dunk, the visitors weren’t shaken and cut the Windsor lead to just three. Again, though, the Express picked up the pace and finished off the first half with a 40-29 lead.
During halftime, the Windsor Express Dance Team added a bit of Windsor Express feistiness to the special night with some uptown funk. One dancer shared her pompoms with a young fan to cheer on the players as they got ready to go for the second half.
Windsor had a big third quarter in terms of defense. DeAndre Thomas, Kevin Loiselle and Quinnel Brown stood tall against the Rainmen’s offense. After an opportunity at one end, Loiselle raced to the other to perform a giant block, and Brown followed suit just a second later. The defense allowed Windsor to hit key offense, and so Anderson put away a pair of threes to extend the lead to 16. With time winding down, Brown made a last-second basket and the Express closed out the third up 68-49.
In the first couple of minutes of the fourth quarter, Windsor seemed a little off, but they stayed on top of its opponents. Josh Collins would later collide with a Halifax defender and walked off the court limping. The game began taking a rougher turn as the Rainmen started to build frustration. The Express had built themselves an enormous 26-point lead and the visitors weren’t feeling it. once the arguments and tensions settled down, Windsor kept playing its game. Jamarcus Ellis set up Williams for another thundering alley-oop at one end, and ran back to make a big block at the other. The Express fought off the Rainmen, and won 95-68.
Windsor will be at the WFCU Centre Saturday, January 31st at 7pm to take on the Mississauga Power.