The (17-13) Austin Toros took down the (19-15) Maine Red Claws 111-94 in the Cedar Park Center on Wednesday night in front of a crowd of over 2,300. The Toros have now won 10 out of their last 14 games and have moved up to the 6th seed in the playoffs. In fact, they're only 2.5 games out of first in their division (behind Rio Grande).
The secret to the winning ways of the Toros?
"The biggest thing tonight was our defense," said Toros Head Coach Taylor Jenkins after the game. "If you look at the defensive numbers, we held them under 40% field goal percentage and held them under 24 points each quarter in the third and the fourth. That was our M.O. tonight for these guys."
The Red Claws, with 5 players selected to the NBA D League All Star Game, are one of the top 3 scoring teams in the league.
In addition to playing great defense, the team has been sharing the ball well on offense too. All of the starters scored in double figures with Cory Joseph leading the way with 25 points and 7 assists. Both JaMychal Green (20 pts / 11 rebounds) and Rick Jackson (19 pts / 11 rebounds / 5 blks) put up double doubles. Chris Roberts had 17 points & 5 assists and Jamarr finished with 15 pts & 5 assists as well.
The Red Claws out rebounded the Toros 49-40, but the Toros's team offense was too much to overcome as evidenced by the Toros having 30 assist to the Red Claws 11.
"I think we were really unselfish on offense," continued the coach. "We had 30 assists on 45 made baskets. That's got to be one of the highest I can remember."
Maine was lead by top prospect Shelvin Mack with 26 points and 4 assists and former Austin Toros player Omar Reed with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
While the Red Claws have 5 players in the Top 28 Prospects List, according the the D League rankings, the Toros proved tonight that they had the stronger team.
Up next for the Toros is the All Star Break. Cory Joseph will be representing the Toros at the event while the rest of his teammates and coaches take some time off to be with family. After the break, the Toros head up north to face the Iowa Energy on Thursday and Friday and then head back to the Cedar Park Center for a 3:00pm game on Sunday, Feb 24. Tickets are available for as low as $5 here.
Toros Forward Tyler Wilkerson was scratched from the game tonight due to swelling in his knee. The team is optimistic that he'll be ready to play next week against Iowa.
Both Kyle Weaver (back) and Cory Joseph (ankle) got knocked around on the court Wednesday night, but both returned to action and are deemed to be fine for action next week.
Wednesday Nights Game was part of the Toros 'Winning Wednesday' Promotion. Since the Toros won, those in attendance who bring their ticket stub to the next Wednesday Night Game get in for free. The next Wednesday Night game for the Toros is February 27th against Sioux Falls.
The Capital City Dancers will be performing at the NBA Development League All Star Game this Saturday in Houston.
Stew Myrick, who just two weeks ago was in New Orleans interviewing NFL players past and present for the Super Bowl for ESPN Radio, was kind enough to provide his post game analysis of the Toros' victory.