TULSA, Okla., January 14, 2010
Utilizing a strong game from the bench, the Tulsa 66ers defeated the Austin Toros 103-95 in a thrilling game on Thursday night at the Tulsa Convention Center. The 66ers outscored the Toros 35-9 from the bench in a game that seesawed back-and-forth and saw 25 lead changes.
I was impressed with our defensive presence, especially down the stretch, 66ers Head Coach Nate Tibbetts said. Our bench really gave us a huge spark tonight.
A Malik Hairston three-point play and two dunks by Alonzo Gee capped a 7-0 run in the final minutes of the first quarter, as the Toros shot 11-for-19 in the period to take a 24-18 edge into the second quarter. The shot 50 percent from the field, as Cecil Brown scored eight first quarter points.
Moses Ehambe and Deron Washington sparked an 11-0 run coming off the bench to start the second quarter, putting the 66ers ahead 29-24 with 9:07 remaining in the half. Dwayne Jones hit two free throws and a lay up, as he scored four-straight points during an 8-2 run that helped the Toros regain the lead at 32-31 just three minutes later. Ehambe hit two three-pointers with less than three minutes left in the half that put Tulsa up by two, but another Jones lay-in finished the half with the teams tied at 47 apiece. Both Ehambe and Jones had 11 points in the second quarter.
As each team traded buckets early in the third quarter, an Eddie Basden three-pointer capped a 7-0 run with 4:26 remaining in the period to give the Toros a 69-63 edge. Three free throws by Washington and a Brown three-pointer capped a 6-0 run by Tulsa to tie the game at 69 apiece. The 66ers committed only one turnover in the third quarter, as they took a 76-75 lead into the final period.
Mustafa Shakur scored 14 of his team-high 22 points in the fourth quarter, as the 66ers managed a 15-4 run starting at the nine-minute mark until they led 95-85 with 3:36 remaining in the game. Both teams struggled from the field in the final quarter, as Tulsa shot 7-for-18 but came up big at the free throw line, going 13-of-17 down the stretch. Austin made seven of 19 attempts in the final quarter.
Tulsa finished the game shooting 50 percent (39-78) from the field and 75 percent (18-24) from the charity stripe, while Austin shot 46.8 percent (36-77) from the field and 55.9 percent (19-34) from the free throw line.
The 66ers (11-7) were led by Shakur, who added seven rebounds and five assists. Brown finished with 17 points, and Washington contributed 17 points and seven rebounds from the bench. Larry Owens put up 16 points, to go along with his five rebounds and five assists, while Ehambe added 12 points.
The Toros (9-9) were led by San Antonio Spurs assignee Hairston with 28 points and six rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Jones put together a double-double with 24 points and 18 rebounds, while Justin Bowen added 14 points and Basden had 12 points.
The 66ers stay home to face the Erie BayHawks in a back-to-back series on Saturday, Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 17 at 4 p.m. The first 500 fans through the door on Saturday will receive a Smarter Media/Tulsa 66ers cowbell. The Toros return home to face the BayHawks on Tuesday, Jan. 19 and the Fort Wayne Mad Ants the following night.