Sevens Home Stand a Success

By: Bill Hyland

Tuesday night the Delaware 87ers (7-21) held on late to beat the visiting Austin Toros (10-14) by 3 points (91-87) and leave the Bob Carpenter Center going 3-1 in their recent 4 game home stand.

Starting the season 3-20 the 87ers have gone 4-1 in their last 5 games and shown signs of improvement while playing better team basketball at both ends of the court. One reason for their improved play is the immediate contributions from recently acquired talent, and last night was no different.

Scoring only 2 points in his season debut with the Sevens, guard Bo Spencer showed fans why the organization traded for him 1 day prior, putting up (14 PTS, 6 REB, 3 AST, 3 ST, and 3 TO) and being named player of the game.

The Sevens came out of the gate slow Tuesday night as the Toros scored on their first four offensive possessions taking an early 7 point lead. Forward Tiny Gallon helped keep the Sevens a float draining 3-4 FG for 6 1st quarter points and finished the game with (13 PTS, 7 REB, 1 AST, and 1 BS).

Trailing at the start of the 2nd quarter (18-24) Sevens high flying forwards Norvel Pelle and Thanasis Antetokounmpo brought the fans to their feet by scoring 6 unanswered points to tie the game at 24 on three consecutive slams. Riding this momentum the 87ers stepped up their team defense forcing the Toros into committing 8 turnovers for 12 points. The Sevens smothering defense gave up only 14 points on 5-21 shooting for 24% in the second quarter.

Forward Damian Saunders showed his versatility on the court leading the Sevens with 4 blocked shots and17 points to go along with 6 boards, 2 steals, and 1 assist. Saunders would eventually give the Sevens a (32-30) lead they would never flounder when he trailed a fast break and was rewarded for his effort with a big put back dunk.

This was the Toros third straight loss and the second to the Sevens in as many nights. In both games with the Sevens the Toros offense was unable to score above 87 points as they shot 35-97 for 36.1% from the floor and an abysmal 2-15 3FG for 13.3% from behind the arc. Leading Austin in scoring was forward Josh Howard with (19 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST). Howard started the game hot sinking his first 4 field goals but ended the night going 2-14 FG and just 1-7 from long range. Meanwhile starting forward Eric Dawson was a beast on the glass Tuesday night grabbing 17 boards, 1 below season high, as well as leading all players in steals with 5. Dawson had a decent night offensively as well scoring 14 points and recording a double-double.

The Delaware 87ers look to take their momentum on the road and win three straight when they face off against division rivals the Maine Red Claws Friday, January 31st, at 7pm.