Albany, NY – As the buzzer sounded at the end of regulation a competitive series came to a close. The Edmonton Energy earned their first victory of the season with a well-rounded rout of the Albany Legends 124-108.
Quinnel Brown paced the Energy offense all game. He finished with 26 points and had 7 rebounds. His mere presence in the paint and getting to the hoop helped the Energy shoot an impressive 55% from the field.
North Carolina alum Curtis Nash scored 15 of his 21 points in the first half including 13 points in the 2nd quarter to help the Energy avoid a sweep to the division leading Legends. Nash consistently found his way to the rim, driving the lane with authority picking up numerous fouls. Though he was fouled driving to the basket, Nash muscled a majority of those contested shots in the hoop. He made Albany pay by connecting on 4 of his 7 free throws.
The Energy came out of the gate with a different plan of attack. They made a conscious effort to dictate the pace of the game and put the Legends in the unusual situation of feeling the pressure of an up-tempo offense. Something that the Legends have not been a victim of this entire season.
Rashaun Broadus played over 40 minutes and directed a sound Energy offense that initiated solid ball movement and allowed every Edmonton player to score. Every player on the Energy roster scored at least 3 points. Broadus, who has showcased a phenomenal skill set this entire season, finished with 19 points and 4 assists. During this series Broadus has benefited the Energy with 20.6 points per game and 6.6 assists per game.
The Legends had another strong game from Center Deandre Thomas who scored 15 points while grabbing 5 rebounds. But he was held to a mere 4 points in the second half as the Energy succeeded in containing his inside game. “We wanted to make sure we doubled down on Deandre a little bit earlier. He gave us fits. He’s the biggest load and probably one of the toughest big guys that I’ve seen in a long time, the guy has a great touch. We really respect him as a player and he has caused us problems. That was kind of the difference in the game, we were able to throw him off a little bit” said Edmonton Coach Skouson Harker.
Thomas is a premier inside force in the IBL and a strong candidate to make our very own SportsRantz.com All-IBL Team. Thomas was able to stay out of foul trouble which at times has plagued him this season. But he was unable to respond to Edmonton’s defensive adjustments after the first half.
Unlike Saturday night’s come from behind victory for the Legends, Albany was unable to overcome a deficit that reached over 20 points at certain points in the game. Albany was without Head Coach Ben Smith who sat out this game due to his ejection from Saturday’s contest.
Albany shot only 40% from the field while allowing Edmonton to shoot a series high 54%. In Friday’s victory Albany was able to limit the Energy to only 44% from the field and 48% percent on Saturday.
Saturday’s Star Damone Morris was held to only 5 points after being a contributing factor in Saturday’s come from behind victory where he had 22 points and 5 rebounds.
While the Legends did have 7 players score in double figures (Gallup 13, Mayben 12, Harris 12, Thomas 15, Johnson 13, Morton 11, Grant 13) they were unable to build any momentum or string together any runs that could swing the pendulum their way.
One thing this series proved was that both the Legends and the Energy are elite IBL teams that very easily could meet in the Championship game. Both teams uniquely differentiate from one another which brings out the best in each. Their enthralling contests have many IBL fans and this Journalist in particular anxious to see them meet in the Playoffs.
The Legends (9-3) loss snaps a 5 game winning streak and also lose their 1st place Division lead to the Kankakee Soldiers (8-2).
The Legends hope to rebound from their 3rd loss of the season and build on a strong 9-3 record as they play host to the USA All-Stars in their final homestand of the 2011 season next weekend.