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Saturday April 18th, 2015

Posted at 10:26am

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It certainly wasn’t the same Halifax squad from two days earlier. Friday night, the Halifax Rainmen proved why they are in the NBL Finals. Windsor had a hard time mounting any offense, and in the end, would suffer a loss. The Express were handed a big loss as the Rainmen tied the series by winning 100-93 in Windsor.

Tony Bennett was Windsor’s hottest shooter as he put up 25 points and 5 assists. Kirk Williams Jr. and Ryan Anderson each scored 16 points, and Quinnel Brown added 14 points.

Right from the opening tip-off, it was clear that Windsor was going to be facing an uphill battle. Halifax began with back-to-back threes and scored the game’s first 8 points. The Rainmen’s defense was staying on top of the Express as well. Despite a rough start though, Windsor was staying close. However, its turnovers and missed shots were hurting the team. At the other end, Halifax made 6 of 8 three-pointers in the quarter, helping to build a 32-19 lead after one.

The second was not much different as the Rainmen were doing everything right. The game was going their way, and the Express couldn’t do much. It was Ryan Anderson’s hot shooting that put them close. After hitting three three-pointers in a row, the lead was cut to 10. Kevin Loiselle’s defensive game picked up as he pulled off a giant block. Soon after, Halifax built a 17-point lead. Near the end of the first half, Anderson set up Tim Parham for a dunk in hopes of bringing some life to the team. The Rainmen were up 56-41 at halftime.

The bad just got worst in the third quarter. Early on, Tony Bennett hurt his ankle, and DeAndre Thomas was ejected from the game after his second unsportsmanlike foul. Windsor’s woes continued as the team fell behind by 20 points early. Halifax had total control of the game. Bennett returned to the court; because of his ankle, he played gingerly, but still with soul. He would score a three-pointer, to which Anderson and Quinnel Brown would match. Other than a small offensive flurry, Windsor couldn’t seem to break through the Rainmen, nor get much closer than 20 points. With one quarter remaining, Halifax was still in the lead 82-66.

Early in the fourth, the Express showed a little bit of life on a nifty passing play. Following a monster block from Parham, they rushed up the court where Bennett would dish the ball behind his back to Brown, who in turn fired a three-pointer. Next, Bennett hit one of his own. Shortly after, he would score another basket to come within only 9 points. Now was the time that the Express needed to be strong defensively – and they were. They held the Rainmen back from making their three-point shots, and clawed within 7 points. With less than a minute to play, Windsor was just 5 points back. But they wouldn’t get any closer. When the buzzer sounded, the Express lost a big one 100-93 to the Halifax Rainmen.

The teams head out east for Games Three, Four and Five. If necessary, they will be back in Windsor for Game Six on Tuesday, April 28th at 7pm.

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