(LONDON, ON) After a spirited game in Sudbury on Friday, the Five travelled south to London for a Sunday afternoon rematch against the defending champion London Lightning.
The Five were once again shorthanded, dressing 10 players for the Sunday matinee game. Sharp shooting guard Jaylen Bland missed his seventh game of the season with a nagging lower body injury, as the Five looked to put back-to-back wins together to start 2019.
The Lightning got off to a flying start, leading by as much as 11 to start the first quarter. The Lightning were led by guard Xavier Moon who had 11 points in the first. The Five looked to move into the second chasing the Lightning by a large margin, before Devin Gilligan took over. The Keene, NH native scored all eight points for the Five as they closed out the quarter on an 8-0 run. The Five ended the first down five, 27-22.
The second quarter was a quiet one for the Five offense. The team failed to convert a three pointer, a strong point through the team’s first 16 games of the season. The Five shot just over 30% from the field, scoring only 16 points in the second. Cory Dixon was the lone bright spot for the Five. The Sioux City, IO native scored 12 points and added five rebounds in the frame. The Lightning offense was also quiet, scoring only 22 in the quarter, but extending the lead to 11 moving into half time.
The Five needed a big third quarter to get back into the game, and once again Devin Gilligan delivered. Gilligan failed to miss a shot in the quarter, going a perfect 4-4 from behind the three-point line. His 12 points, along with a strong quarter from Dexter Williams Jr. who had six points and four rebounds, thrusted the Five to a 30-point third quarter. Moving into the final 12 minutes, the Five trailed by three, 71-68.
The final 12 minutes brought plenty of emotion to the floor at Budweiser Gardens. After a Mo Bolden technical foul removed the Lightning star from the game, an inspired Cory Dixon went to work. Dixon played every minute down the stretch posting eight points and 5 rebounds in the final quarter. The Five took the lead with just under two minutes remaining when a Cory Dixon layup put the Five ahead. On the next possession, Marvin Phillips drove hard to the net drawing the foul, sinking the basket and the foul shot to put the Lighting up by two. The Lightning wouldn’t look back, on route to a 100-93 victory against the Five.
Cory Dixon was once again a difference maker for the Five. Tying a season high with 26 points, Dixon led all players with 16 rebounds in 45 minutes of playing time, good for his fifth double-double of the season. Devin Gilligan also had a strong game with a season high 24 points and nine rebounds.
The Five now return home for some well-deserved time off before they hit the court again on Saturday, when they welcome the Cape Breton Highlanders to the Sudbury Community Arena. Game time is 7:05 PM. Tickets are available online at www.thefive.caor in-person at the Sudbury Arena Box Office.