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Albuquerque 99, Fayetteville 84

Thunderbirds Rout Patriots

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., March 26 -- “This was a very good win to finish up at home. It really sets the tone for what we need to do on the road,” said Thunderbird head coach Michael Cooper.

The Albuquerque Thunderbirds ended their regular season home schedule Sunday afternoon by defeating the Fayetteville Patriots 99-84 at Tingley Coliseum. The Thunderbirds will hit the road for the remaining five games of the season and will play the same Fayetteville Patriots next weekend for two games in North Carolina.

Albuquerque gained momentum in the first by taking a 17-10 lead halfway through the quarter. The T-Birds would keep their seven-point lead heading into the second up 29-22, but would really turn it on by starting the second quarter on a 9-2 run, and later increased their lead to 20 points. They went into the halftime up 57-38.

Albuquerque tried to put the game away in the third by taking a 23 point lead, but the Patriots made a charge that would cut the lead to seven points with four minutes to play in the quarter. A key Brandon Mason three-pointer stopped the Patriots momentum and gave the Thunderbirds a 76-65 advantage heading into the final quarter.

In the fourth, Fayetteville made the game exciting by again trimming the Thunderbird lead, this time to eight points with eight minutes to play. But the Patriots could not get any closer. The T-Birds were able control the final minutes of the game, giving them the comfortable 15 point win. The Thunderbirds had a very balanced attack with six players scoring in double figures. Tierre Brown led the way with 19 points, and was followed by T.J. Cummings with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Marcus Douthit just missed his double-double with 14 points and 8 rebounds.

Fayetteville forward Erik Daniels led all scorers with 22 points and grabbed 13 boards, while teammates Darnell Miller and Rick Rickert scored 12 points apiece.

A home playoff game is not out of the question for the Albuquerque Thunderbirds. They will decide their own fate in a five game road trip starting Friday, March 31st.