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Austin 95, Idaho 89
AUSTIN, Texas, April 21 -- The Austin Toros banked on a big third quarter to beat the Idaho Stampede, 95-89, to take a 1-0 lead in their best of three series for the NBA Development League championship on Monday at the Austin Convention Center.
The Toros can wrap up the series and bring home the championship with a victory on Thursday. The series shifts to Boise, Idaho for the final two games.
The Stampede were led by
The Toros brought the crowd out of their seats in the opening 20 seconds of the contest when
Both teams made only of their first five field goal attempts, until Idaho’s
“We came out of the gate rushing at first and Idaho was able to build a large lead,” said Austin’s Bowen. “We were getting back fast instead of running our offense.”
In the second quarter, Austin’s Josh Gross caught fire. The 6-5 forward from UNC–Greensboro hit a pair of 3s in just over a one-minute span to pull Austin to within one point, 30-29.
Midway through the second quarter, Austin found its stride. Barrett who spent four seasons in the NBA, knifed through the lane and got the off-balance lefty layup to drop. Bowen then stole the inbounds pass, slid the ball to Mahinmi who threw it down with authority making the score 35-34.
“It got our momentum going because we were picking up full court,” Barrett said. “It got the crowd up.” The sequence gave the Toros its first lead since the opening minute of the game.
Idaho led by two points at the break, 44-42.
In the third quarter, Idaho went cold, hitting just five of 18 shots from the floor. The Toros, meanhwile, ended the quarter with a pair of 3-pointers by hometown basketball hero
“I think the turning point of the game was when K.P. (Kenton Paulino) and Squeak (Johnson) made those big shots,” Barrett said.
Paulino hit a triple to begin the final quarter and when Bowen connected on a left side jumper with 10:36 left, the Toros had extended their lead to 73-61, their largest of the game to that point.
Austin’s lead hovered in double digits for most of the quarter but Violette’s 20th point, a left side jumper drew the visiting Stampede to within seven points with five and a half minutes to play. Johnson starred late in fourth quarter with a driving layup with 5:09 left; a right side jumper with 2:37 remaining, and a 12 foot jumper with 1:10 left which put the game on ice.
“It’s big – we’re going to their house, so the pressure is on them at home,” Barrett said. “For us this win at home was really big. To go and play away and all you have to do is win one game, that works in our odds.”
The series moves to Boise, Idaho for Game 2 which can be seen Thursday at 9:30 pm ET on NBA Futurecast (nba.com/futurecast) and NBA TV. “It’s going to be the hardest game of the series,” Bowen said. “Idaho is a great team and they have good chemistry.”
If a third game is necessary it will played on Friday also at 9:30 pm ET, and can be seen on NBA Futurecast and NBA TV.