BISMARCK, ND, January 22, 2010
– The temperature may have been dropping all day on Friday in Bismarck, but the Dakota Wizards stayed hot with a big 117-97 win over the visiting Los Angeles D-Fenders. A balanced Dakota offense kept Los Angeles on its heels, with seven Wizards scoring in double figures. The D-Fenders also had no answer for Dakota on the perimeter, allowing the Wizards to hit 13-of-19 shots from beyond the 3-point arc.
Los Angeles controlled much of the action in the first quarter until 3-pointers from Dakota’s David Bell and Maurice Baker tied the game at 15 with 5:05 left in the period. The Wizards then turned up the defensive pressure, going on a 14-6 run to end the first with an eight point lead. Dakota limited the D-Fenders to 34.8% shooting in the frame.
Dakota’s stifling defense continued in the second period, as Los Angeles was only able to convert on 8-of-23 field goal attempts. Curtis Withers made his presence felt in the middle, blocking three shots in the quarter. With ten points apiece from Romel Beck and Marcus Dove in the half, Dakota took a 58-40 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Los Angeles’ Frank Robinson tried to get his team back in the game after the intermission, notching ten points on 4-of-6 shooting in the third quarter. Despite shooting 58.8% from the field in the frame, the D-Fenders watched their deficit grow. Dakota was simply too much from the outside, nailing four 3-pointers in the third, three of those coming from David Bell. The Wizards took an 84-63 lead into the final period.
With the game already decided and his starters shooting poorly, Los Angeles head coach Chucky Brown turned to his bench in the fourth quarter. The D-Fenders reserves scored all 34 of the team’s points in the period. Dakota’s 3-point barrage continued in the fourth, with Bell and Darren Cooper each connecting on a pair from downtown.
“I’ve been telling our guys we’ve got to be balanced,” said Wizards head coach Rory White. “When one guy is struggling, we need someone else to be able to step up.” Dakota was led by David Bell’s 25 points, which included 7-of-11 shooting from the 3-point line. Beck, Cooper and Boo Jackson all chipped in 16 points apiece for the Wizards. Joe Crawford was the leading scorer for Los Angeles with 22 points.
Due to inclement weather in the Dakotas, Los Angeles will stay in Bismarck and these two teams will meet again on Sunday afternoon at 12:00pm.