TULSA, Okla., March 7, 2010
– Oklahoma City Thunder assigned forward D.J. White finished with a double-double of 22 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, as the Tulsa 66ers defeated the Fort Wayne Mad Ants 98-94 in a hard-fought battle at the Tulsa Convention Center Sunday evening.
Thunder assignees Byron Mullens and Kyle Weaver combined for 22 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, while Mustafa Shakur added 17 points and a game-high 13 assists for Tulsa.
In a game that saw 17 lead changes and 11 ties, the first quarter pretty much told the story. The 66ers raced out to a 9-3 lead following a White lay up with 8:48 remaining in the quarter. But Oliver Lafayette scored six points to spark an 8-2 run by the Mad Ants to tie the game at 11 with 7:01 on the clock. Both teams traded baskets the remainder of the period, until Moses Ehambe buried a three-pointer to give the 66ers a 30-27 advantage at the break. Both Shakur and Lafayette scored eight first quarter points, as Tulsa shot 12-of-22 (54.5 percent) and Fort Wayne shot 9-of-22 (40.9 percent) from the field in the period.
Two three-pointers by Ryan Ayers gave the Mad Ants their largest lead of the game at 43-34 with 6:53 remaining in the first half. Set off by Mullens’ eight second quarter points and Weaver’s five assists in the period, the 66ers outscored the Mad Ants 18-8 the rest of the period, and took a 52-51 lead into halftime.
The back-and-forth battle continued in the third quarter with six lead changes and five ties, as Tulsa took a 59-53 lead following a Larry Owens lay up with 7:47 remaining. The Mad Ants charged back with a 9-2 run, as Lafayette scored three of his 11 third quarter points with 5:47 left in the period. Both teams shot 9-of-17 (52.9 percent) from the field in the quarter, and went into the final period tied at 75.
Weaver and Ehambe each hit three-pointers as the 66ers built an 85-79 advantage with 8:49 remaining in the game. Dan Dickau answered back with a three-pointer of his own for the Mad Ants, their lone made shot from downtown in the quarter, as Fort Wayne shot 1-for-7 from distance in the period. Ehambe hit another three to give Tulsa a six-point lead with 6:30 remaining, but the Mad Ants would not go away quietly, coming back to within 93-92 after a Sean Sonderleiter hook shot with 2:39 left in the game. White secured the victory for the 66ers with a long jumper and two free throws that put the game out of reach.
The 66ers shot 39-of-77 (50.6 percent) from the field for the game, to go along with 31 assists as a team, and out rebounded the Mad Ants 43-36.
Led by White and Shakur, the 66ers (22-16) won their third straight game and fifth in a row at home, and finished with five players scoring in double-figures. Owens had 16 points and four steals, while Mullens added 15 points and eight rebounds. Ehambe compiled 15 points off the bench, going 5-of-8 from three-point range, while Weaver ran the offense with seven points, eight assists and three boards.
The Mad Ants (14-24) finished with four players in double figures, including Dickau who had a double-double of 18 points and 10 assists. Lafayette had a game-high 25 points, while Sonderleiter and Ayers each finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.
The two teams match up in the second game of the back-to-back set tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the Tulsa Convention Center.