Hur­ri­canes blow past River Li­ons

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - SPORTS - ROD MAWHOOD SPE­CIAL TO THE STAN­DARD

De­spite cut­ting the lead to four points in the third quar­ter, the Ni­a­gara River Li­ons never over­came a 31-13 first quar­ter deficit drop­ping a 107-89 de­ci­sion to the Hal­i­fax Hur­ri­canes Fri­day night.

The mes­sage re­mains sim­ple from River Li­ons head coach Joe Raso — he wants his team to play a full 48 min­utes.

“We got bul­lied early in the game,” ex­plained Raso. “We played hard and then lost our wheels. We need to teach bet­ter. Our ap­ti­tude needs to be higher. We all need to get on the same page, and we can’t play in spurts — we need to play in 48 minute seg­ments.”

The Li­ons trailed 50-37 at half­time be­fore cut­ting that lead to 5349 at the 7:52 mark of the third quar­ter, but that’s as close as they’d get in fall­ing to (8-11) on the sea­son.

Marvell Waithe drained 18 points to lead Ni­a­gara, while Sam Muldrow had 15 points and seven re­bounds.

Ty­rone Wat­son led all scor­ers with 22 points as the Hur­ri­canes im­proved to (9-6) with the win.

Now past the mid­way point of the 40-game Na­tional Bas­ket­ball League of Canada sea­son, Raso ad­mits he’d like to stay with the play­ers he has, but won’t rule out mak­ing changes.

“I’m not happy un­til the fight is 48 min­utes,” Raso said.

“As a staff we eval­u­ate af­ter ev­ery prac­tice. So the mid­way point is just a mea­sure­ment time which is fair. I have al­ways felt the less changes you make the bet­ter, so I’ve been pa­tient. But say­ing that, if we can im­prove our team, and chance to win, we will.”

The River Li­ons now re­turn home to face Monc­ton on Sun­day. Game time is 2 p.m. at Merid­ian Cen­tre.

Lion Pride: The third quar­ter was the only quar­ter the River Li­ons outscored Hal­i­fax (29-25) .... Omar Strong did not dress for Ni­a­gara who com­mit­ted 17 turnovers com­pared to the Hur­ri­canes nine .... The Li­ons have played just six of their 21 games at home.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

River Li­ons Dwayne Smith (32) and Adam Klie bat­tle for the ball Fri­day night in Hal­i­fax.

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