ALBUQUERQUE, NM, Feb. 6, 2010 – For the third consecutive Saturday, the Albuquerque Thunderbirds needed all 48 minutes to determine the outcome of a game contested on their home court. As has become customary, the ball found its way into the hands of Antoine Agudio in the final seconds, and the T-Birds marksman once again saved the day for Albuquerque, connecting on a three with 4.8 seconds remaining in regulation to give the T-Birds an 88-87 victory over Utah.
Agudio and Carlos Powell each scored 19 points for Albuquerque. The Thunderbirds have now won three straight, and sit in third place in the Western Conference behind Rio Grande Valley and Austin.
Utah opened the game strong, and led 27-21 at the end of the first quarter thanks to 62.5% shooting from the floor. The T-Birds rebounded in the second, however, outscoring the Flash by seven to take a one point lead going into halftime.
Both teams shot an identical 16 for 34 from the field in the opening half, and the score was 48-47 at the break with the slight edge going to Albuquerque.
Utah held a seven point lead four minutes into the third quarter, but the T-Birds battled back, and reclaimed the lead on a Jason Horton free throw with 1:25 to play in the quarter. Those were the last points of the quarter for Albuquerque, and Utah held a 68-63 lead at the end of the third.
The T-Birds trailed 85-79 with 3:13 remaining in the game, but Powell cut the lead to two on back to back jump shots to ignite the Thunderbirds home crowd. Utah pushed the lead back to four on its next possession, and Albuquerque failed to respond on its next two possessions.
A pair of Carlos Powell free throws with less than one minute remaining put the T-Birds again within two. Utah went to Orien Greene on its next possession, but his three rimmed out to give Albuquerque the ball with 15.3 seconds on the clock.
The Thunderbirds inbounded to Powell at the top of the key, who waited a few seconds before putting the ball on the floor. He dribbled hard to the right, and when Utah collapsed on him he found Agudio on the wing.
Agudio put up a high arching three that found nothing but nylon with 4.8 seconds remaining to give the T-Birds a one point lead. Utah went to Greene once again on its last possession, but the T-Birds defended his layup well and time expired as both teams scrambled for the rebound.
Chad Toppert notched 11 points for Albuquerque. Shane Edwards added 10 points and eight rebounds for the T-Birds.
Luke Nevill led the way for Utah with 21 points. Greene added 17 for the Flash.
The T-Birds will be in action again on Jan. 10 when they travel to South Dakota to take on the Sioux Falls Skyforce. The game will begin at 6 pm, and fans can listen live on 1050 KTBL.