SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Jan. 23, 2010)
– Facing off for the first time, the Springfield Armor lost to the Austin Toros 114-107 in front of 2,813 fans Saturday at the MassMutual Center.
The Armor played stifling defense in the first half, holding Austin to just 32% shooting and recording five blocks. Springfield’s offense finally caught up with its defense as the Armor went on a 22-11 run to end the half and take a 56-43 lead into the second half. The Armor shot a blistering 67% from the field in the half and were led by Morris Almond’s 15 points. Alonzo Gee led the Toros with 15 points of his own.
Turnovers became an issue for Springfield in the third quarter, as Austin’s pressure defense forced several Armor mistakes. Springfield turned the ball over 5 times in the quarter and the Toros were able to come all the way back to take an 80-78 lead into the final quarter.
Austin held the Armor scoreless for the first three and a half minutes of the fourth quarter as the Toro lead grew to as high as nine points. Springfield trimmed the lead to three points with five minutes left in the game, but point guard Abdullai Jalloh fouled out moments later.
With just over a minute left and Austin holding onto a 103-101 lead, Malik Hairston converted a three-point play to take a six point lead. Hairston, on assignment from the San Antonio Spurs, finished with a game-high 32 points. Springfield couldn’t get any closer than six the rest of the way and dropped to 5-16 on the year.
Tre Whitted contributed a career high 23 points to go with 6 assists and 7 rebounds. Morris Almond chipped in with 27 points for Springfield. Curtis Jerrells scored 29 points for Austin.