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Fayetteville 120, Tulsa 110
Late Run Gives Patriots Sixth-Straight Home Win
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C., March 17 -- Detroit Pistons rookies Amir Johnson and Alex Acker continued their run of strong D-League performances, and center Rick Rickert continued to provide a solid inside presence, as the threesome each scored over 20 points and accounted for all of a late 10-0 spurt that pushed the Patriots from a two-point deficit to a 120-110 win over the Tulsa 66ers.
The win was Fayetteville's sixth home win in a row and seventh overall in its last nine games.
The win came despite the fact that three Patriots -- Mateen Cleaves, Kevin Lyde and Kaniel Dickens -- were out with injuries and a fourth, Melvin Sanders, was called up to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.
"Everybody loves to play," said Patriots head coach Mike Brown. "They all want 30 minutes and 20 points every game. Tonight, we had some guys who played more than usual, and some who took advantage of the opportunity to get those minutes."
Tulsa opened fast, sprinting to a 39-30 lead at the close of the first quarter. Otis George scored 12 points in the frame, most of them from the paint and the free throw line. Fayetteville settled down in the second as center Rick Rickert continued to dominate inside on the other end. Rickert had 15 at the half and Fayetteville held a 56-55 advantage.
The teams stayed close the rest of the way until the 2:43 mark of the fourth when Acker took over. With the score tied at 104-104, he hit a short jumper, then stole the ball and fed Rickert for back-to-back layups. He then set Johnson up with an alley-oop slam and followed with a pair of free throws that made the score 114-104. The 66ers couldn't recover from the run.
Tulsa assistant coach Roy Rogers filled in for head coach Joey Meyer, whose father, the legendary DePaul University coach Ray Meyer, died earlier in the day.
"The difference was their size," Rogers said. "They had 21 offensive rebounds, almost as many as we had on the defensive side. You can probably get away with that if you don't turn the ball over, but then we turned it over 27 times.
"When we did make a stop, they went up and got the ball and got another chance. Every time we punched, they countered."
Acker finished with 25, Johnson had 24 and Rickert netted 23 with 17 rebounds. Kevin Johnson added 13 off the bench while Darnell Miller scored 11.
"We played really good team defense tonight," Brown said. "We made them shoot jumpshots, then we rebounded and got easy layups. They're a good team. It was a good challenge for us."
Desmon Farmer led all scorers with 29 points. John Lucas III added 21 and George finished with 17.