The Niagara River Lions finish off a west coast back-to-back, taking on the Edmonton Stingers from the Expo Centre at 7:30 pm local/9:30 pm ET on Thursday night.
The game will be available for streaming live on TSN+, CEBL+ powered by BetVictor, and on the CEBL Mobile app available on iOS and Android devices.
In three regular season matchups a year ago, the two teams split the series 2-1 in favour of the River Lions. This will be the only time Niagara and Edmonton face off in 2023, barring a showdown in the post-season.
Two of the three games last year were tightly contested in which the average margin of victory was five points. Expect the teams to once again have a defensive battle where points come at a premium.
The River Lions are coming off an 85-82 loss to the Calgary Surge on Tuesday. In that game, it was the team’s three-point shooting and lack of rebounding that cost them. Niagara shot 18 per cent from distance on the night only making four threes the entire game. They’ve also been outrebounded in both games this season, with no one on the roster grabbing more than eight in either game, giving up an average of 12 second chance points as a result.
The team is also going to need more scoring production in order to pick up their first win of the season. So far, the most consistent contributor on the squad has been guard Lloyd Pandi. In two games he’s averaged 13.5 points, five rebounds and 2.5 assists on 57.5 per cent shooting.
Look for Jahvon Blair to step up and provide that added punch on offense. He had a quiet first game, but the guard showed out in their game against the Surge, putting up 26 points, eight rebounds, and three assists, which led the team in all three categories. If he can replicate that level of production, it gives the River Lions a strong chance to pick up their first win of the season.
The Stingers come into the game on the heels of consecutive losses to the Surge. Both games were highly competitive but the second one (mind the pun) really stung for Edmonton. The team led by 16 points as they went into the final frame and then lost in what was the biggest Target Score Time comeback in CEBL history. So, all eyes are going to be the Stingers to see how they respond to that kind of a loss.
Despite losing both games, the Stingers did get some solid contributions. Forward Brody Clarke nearly averaged a triple-double in the two games with 12 points and 9.5 rebounds. Team captain Adika Peter-Mcneilly has provided valuable production off the bench thus far. He’s put up 12 points per game, three rebounds and 2.5 assists.
One of the main areas Edmonton will need to focus on in order to win this game will be the turnover battle. The team has averaged 21 turnovers per game so far in comparison to Niagara’s 16.5 per game. The River Lions have struggled to find their rhythm offensively thus far so if the Stingers are willing to give them an extra 4.5 possessions a game, the team will gladly them.
Coming out of their historic loss, Edmonton’s head coach Jordan Baker spoke out his players’ inexperience with the target score, and that a game like that would be a “learning experience,” for the squad. Today’s game will put that to the test.
All games will also be streamed live internationally on the CEBL’s OTT platform, CEBL+ powered by BetVictor, and on the CEBL Mobile app for iOS and Android devices.