Ex-NBA player sparks Lightning

Stephen Brun
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Buford difference in the second half in London's win over the Summerside Storm

SUMMERSIDE - Rodney Buford was the difference maker in the second half, as the NBL of Canada's best team defeated the Summerside Storm 107-98 Tuesday night.

The London Lightning improved to 12-3 on the season, in front of an announced 1,968 at EastLink Arena.

It was the struggling Storm's seventh loss in a row, dropping them to 5-10 (win-loss) on the season.

Although his team dropped yet another game, Summerside head coach Joe Salerno was pleased with how the Storm managed to stay in the game against a strong London squad.

"I thought we played fairly well, we were in a position to win the game, which you always want to be in," he said.

"When you're not shooting well, you need all the shots you can get. We could've shot the ball better, and you have to to beat teams like that (London)."

While Summerside shot just under 40 per cent from the field Tuesday night, the Storm found itself down just 50-46 to the Lightning at halftime.

The Storm's top scorer Mike Williams had 10 of his team-high 18 in the first half, while Louie McCroskey had 11 of his 13 points in the first two quarters.

DeAnthony Bowden and Eddie Smith lead the Lightning with 11 and 10 points respectively in the first half.

London opened up its lead by as much as 11 points in the third quarter, but Summerside surged back thanks to key buckets from Xavier Hansbro and Julian Allen.

The Lightning lead 80-75 heading into the final quarter.

"We had some turnovers at some untimely spots in the game . . . every time we'd make a run or just get over the hump," said Salerno. "But, to be honest, in the second half, (London's) Rodney Buford was what went wrong."

Buford exploded in the second half, where he scored 12 of his game-high 19 points.

Most of his field goals coming down the stretch in the fourth quarter.

The Storm had climbed back to within a point, 88-87, after Terry Martin fed a perfect alley-oop pass to Allen, who made the dunk and brought the crowd to its feet.

The Lightning started pulling away with just minutes remaining in the game, however, as Summerside missed several offensive opportunities.

That gave Buford, a former NBA player, the opening he needed to drain some clutch shots down the stretch.

"Buford was tough . . . it really didn't matter what we did with him down the stretch. He had a hand in his face and knocked down three, four shots in a row," said Salerno. "There's a reason that guy was in the NBA for a while - he was making NBA shots."

Bowden and Brandon Dean finished with 18 points for London, while top scorer Gabe Freeman recorded his 12th double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds.

Williams also finished with 14 rebounds to complete his fifth double-double this year.

Al Stewart also added 18 for Summerside.

The Storm play their final game before Christmas on the road Thursday against the Oshawa Power (6-11).

Summerside's next home game is New Year's Eve against the Saint John Mill Rats.

Game time is 7 p.m. at EastLink Arena.

sbrun@journalpioneer.com

 

Organizations: NBA, Oshawa Power

Geographic location: SUMMERSIDE, London, Canada

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  • Storm Fan
    December 21, 2011 - 14:19

    Went to the game last night with my son and we thoroughly enjoyed the evening. The teams competed hard and we were treated to quality basketball action. Additionally, the team seems to go out of the way to connect with the community. We were personally thanked by team staff for attending and after the game, the players hung around to provide autographs (thrilling my son in the process!). Throw in the bagpipes that greeted the crowd upon entry to the arena, the in-game activities, the affordable prices and community out-reach efforts, and we have an impressive organization truly seeking to plant its roots on the Island. This franchise is a wonderful additonal to our sporting landscape. Its approach definitelty merits our support. Let's go Storm!