Albuquerque, N.M., March 24
– The Albuquerque Thunderbirds defeated the Idaho Stampede in dramatic fashion Saturday night coming from behind late in the fourth quarter to earn a hard fought 89 – 83 victory. Albuquerque’s Dijon Thompson and Idaho’s Randy Livingston led all scorers with 22 points each.
The game’s momentum swung late in the fourth quarter when Brandon Robinson threw down an emphatic dunk to ignite the crowd and tie the game at 78 with just under three minutes remaining. Thompson recorded the games only double-double by grabbing 13 rebounds to go along with his 22 points, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter.
Julius Hodge pitched in 19 for the Thunderbirds and Chris Rodgers added another 17 points off the bench. Dwayne Jones who played his first game with the Thunderbirds after being sent down by the Cleveland Cavaliers had an immediate impact with 10 rebounds and a league-high 8 blocked shots.
The Stampede had four of their five starters score in double digits but only got ten points from their bench. Ricky Sanchez had 21 points, Ronell Taylor added 14, and Eddie Robinson had 13 points on 6 of 11 shooting for the Stampede.
Idaho opened the game on a 10 – 0 run, thanks to 5 points by Livingston. Albuquerque responded with a 15 – 4 run of their own to take their first lead of the game, thanks to back to back three point shots by Rodgers. Both teams exchanged leads for the remainder of the quarter and fittingly, the two teams were tied at 21 after one.
Thompson had 8 of the Thunderbirds 22 second quarter points to go along with 6 rebounds. Albuquerque fought hard throughout a defensive second quarter to take five point lead to the locker room, 43 – 38.
Idaho shot 50% from the field in the third quarter helping them to regain the lead 61 – 60 after three quarters. Livingston led all scorers in the quarter with 10 points on 3 of 4 shooting.
Both the Thunderbirds and Stampede get back to action tomorrow, Sunday, March 25th at Tingley Coliseum; game time is set for 3:00pm. Sunday will be McDonalds Family Fun Day. Fans can purchase 4 tickets for $20, normally a $36 value.