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Fizer, Toros Bully Thunderbirds

AUSTIN, Texas, March 21, 2005 - Austin Toros forward Marcus Fizer scored a D-League season-high 44 points Tuesday as the Toros snapped an eight-game losing skid knocking off the Albuquerque Thunderbirds 102-94 at the Austin Convention Center.

Fizer was outstanding going 14-of-31 from the field and 16-of-20 from the free throw line. He rounded out his stat sheet pulling down ten rebounds to go with three assists and two steals. Fizer’s 44 point night surpassed the 40 points that Arkansas’ Pape Sow put up against the Forth Worth Flyers earlier this season.

“I just really wanted to come out and show everyone that I can perform,” said Fizer, who returned to Austinafter a 10-day contract with the NBA’s Seattle Supersonics. “I really didn’t get the chance I had hoped for in Seattle, so I just wanted to come out and be aggressive. The big thing was for us to get a win, but I also wanted to come out and play as hard as I could. It really worked out for us tonight.”

In addition to Fizer, the Toros finished with three other players in double-figures. Austin guard Ramel Curry chipped in 16 points on 6-of-17 shooting, while Jamar Smith and Omar Thomas added 12 points each.

Albuquerque was led by point guard Tierre Brown’s 25 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the field. Rich Melzer added 15 points off the bench while T.J. Cummings, Marcus Douthit and Andreas Glyniadakis all finished with 14 points each. Douthit added a game-high 13 rebounds.

“If anybody on this team says they didn’t miss Marcus, they can’t be telling the truth,” said Austin head coach Dennis Johnson. “He brings so much to our offense when he’s playing like he did tonight. With him being so aggressive under the basket, he opens up so many open shots for our guys on the perimeter. We didn’t shoot the ball from outside the way I wanted us to tonight, but I’ve got all the confidence in the world that those guys will knock down shots when they have to.”

Albuquerque got back in the game behind an offensive spurt in the third quarter. Brown led the 15-2 run scoring nine of his 11 third-quarter points during the stretch. Albuquerque cut the Austin lead to just three points (73-70) heading into the fourth quarter after shooting 60 percent (12-for-20) from the field during the third quarter. 

Fizer got his night off to a hot start, scoring ten of the Toros first 20 points to help Austin open a 20-14 lead just eight minutes into the game. Neither team could pull away in the first quarter due to sloppy play on both sides. Austin and Albuquerque combined for 12 turnovers in the first quarter as Austin took a slim five point lead (29-24) into the second quarter.

While Austin was able to take better care of the basketball in the second quarter, the Thunderbirds were still unable to get a hold on the turnover situation committing six more in the second quarter to end the first half with 12 total turnovers. Austin took full advantage of the Thunderbirds’ miscues opening up a seven-point lead (52-45) going into the locker room.

Both the Toros and Thunderbirds host the Fayetteville Patriots in their next outing.  The Toros tip off on Thursday, March 21 at the Convention Center while the Thunderbirds face the Patriots on Saturday at Tingley Coliseum.