By: Matthew Thomas
Playing their second game in less than 24 hours, the KW Titans returned to .500 with a 117-112 win over the Windsor Express at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on Sunday afternoon.
Unlike Saturday night's offensive showcase, the points weren't piling-up as quickly in this one. The two teams went shot-for-shot for the first 12 minutes of the game with Windsor finishing off the quarter with a modest lead of 24-21.
The second saw very similar gameplay as the first. Both teams showed some very hard-nosed defense with neither side being able to gain much of an advantage. The two squads continued their back-and-forth performance until a late whistle with less than a second left in the half that sent Windsor's Tyrell Tate (15 points, five rebounds) to the line to inevitably put the Express up by six going into the locker room with the score 49-44.
The second half saw things getting a little heated on the hardwood. The tough play of both squads mixed with the physicality on the defensive end resulted in both clubs being assessed technical fouls on separate occasions as emotions ran high.
This seemed to light a fire under the home team as KW outscored Windsor by nearly 10 points in the third quarter behind Damon Lynn's (21 points, six rebounds, seven assists) three triples in the frame. The reinvigorated Titans ended the quarter ahead of the Express 81-77.
Windsor refused to sit back in the fourth as they would eventually tie the game in the middle of the quarter on a Ryan Anderson (14 points, seven rebounds) turnaround three-pointer from the corner, giving the 722 fans in attendance something to worry about as the clock wound down.
Fortunately, the Titans had more left in the tank themselves with Derek Hall (22 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists) making a Super Bowl Sunday outlet pass from one end of the court to the other finding Tramar Sutherland (18 points, six rebounds) in stride for a sneaky lay-in.
With just 18 seconds left in the contest, Flenard Whitfield (18 points, eight rebounds) converted a pair of free throws to give KW a five-point lead they wouldn't relinquish. For good measure, Greg Morrow (four points, two rebounds) followed through with a dunk off a turnover with just three seconds left to secure the victory.
Six Titans players finished in double figures in scoring.
"I think we're clicking a bit more now," Damon Lynn said after recording a season-high point total.
"We just have to play our brand of basketball and just continue to go out and go hard."
Having just notched his sxth-straight double-double, Hall readily admitted that "everybody's spirits are up high, for sure,"
"We're 11-11 now, so we still have a long ways to go … but as long as we can continue to gel instead of going up and down, we'll stay on a steady rise."
The Titans will now head to Sudbury to face the Five for the third time in their last four games on Thursday at 7pm. The Titans will then travel to London to take on the Lightning on Saturday at 7pm.
The Titans will be back home at The Aud on Sunday to take on the Cape Breton Highlanders. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 pm.