Niagara Falls had been a ranked top ten large school all season, until late last week when the Wolverines dropped their first league game to unranked Kenmore West. On Saturday afternoon, I watched Timon battle at Canisius, leading at different points in the fourth quarter there. Based on that showing and wins the Tigers owned over North Tonawanda, St. Mary's, & Fredonia, I voted for the Tigers in the poll this week, and was the only pollster to do so. Last night, Timon hosted Falls, the team they replaced on my ballot, and by the second half the Tigers made that look like a good call.
Timon picked its spots well against the Niagara Falls pressure and behind a big surge in the middle of the game, put the visiting Wolverines away handily, 71-56. It was the second straight loss for Falls, who is back in action tonight for a key first place battle at home against North Tonawanda.
The game was loaded with whistles, a total of 50 fouls were called in the game and a combined 77 free throws were attempted. Timon opened the game in a 2-3, while Falls used tight man pressure. The Wolverines struggled to attack the zone early, managing just one field goal in the opening quarter and relying on free throws to generate the rest of their points. The pressure Niagara Falls applied defensively also produced several foul calls. In the first half, 18 of Timon's 31 points came from the charity stripe.
Qeyion Williams scored a pair of buckets for the Wolverines late in the second quarter to tie the game at 20, prompting a timeout from the Tigers. Timon came out of the sideline huddle to close the half on an 11-0 run over the final 1:40, punctuated by a 3-pointer from William Lamar that caught the front of the rim and took a friendly turn towards the cylinder, giving the Tigers a 31-20 lead at the intermission.
"It was nice getting that lead before half", Timon head coach Joe Mihalics said. "We had some shots at the rim that didn't go in for us - it seemed like that last stretch, they started going in".
Timon came out for the third quarter and picked up right where they'd left off. An 8-1 run to begin the second half pushed the Tigers' advantage to 39-21, after the teams had been even at 20 just our minutes of game time earlier. Sophomore sniper Joe Harrison ended the third quarter with a pair of 3-pointers to cap a 22-10 quarter for Timon and push the lead to 53-30. Another trey early in the fourth quarter and a basket from Claudious Modi gave Timon its largest lead of the game, 60-36.
"We had some size on them and that hurt them, although they fight - Sal (Constantino) does a great job with them", Mihalics said. "Full court pressing to try to bring the tempo up, I think our guys really handled that well".
Quinton Lamar finished with a game-high 21 points, with many of those coming when he drove to the basket. Lamar showed good instincts and seemed to recognize any time he had a path to the hoop.
"I want our guys to attack and pick the right time to go", Mihalics said. "Tonight when they're attacking us like that full court, we had angles and lanes to the basket in transition and our guys took those and did finish".
Harrison scored 14 points for the Tigers, William Lamar added 13 points, and Derick Simpson added nine points.
Qeyion Williams led Niagara Falls with 16 points, while Devin Scarborough scored 14 points.