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66ers Storm Past Thunderbirds

TULSA , Okla. , March 26, 2010 Oklahoma City Thunder assignee Byron Mullens shot 8-of-12 from the field, including 4-of-6 from three-point range en route to a team-high 24 points, as the Tulsa 66ers defeated the Albuquerque Thunderbirds 106-86 Friday night at the Tulsa Convention Center . Latavious Williams and Mustafa Shakur each finished with double-doubles, as Williams put up 19 points and 16 rebounds while Shakur added 15 points and 10 assists.

The first quarter started as a back-and-forth affair, with six lead changes and two ties, as Chad Toppert nailed a three-pointer for the Thunderbirds with 7:54 remaining in the period, sparking a 12-2 run that gave them a 23-14 edge with 5:05 left. The 66ers rallied back with a 17-2 run to end the quarter, went to the break with a 31-25 lead, and did not trail the rest of the way. Shakur had seven first quarter points, as Tulsa shot 68.4 percent (13-19) from the field and out rebounded the Thunderbirds 8-4 in the quarter. Toppert and Keith McLeod each scored eight, as Albuquerque shot 56.3 percent (9-16).

Tulsa continued their hot shooting in the second quarter, starting with a 14-6 run capped by a Williams lay up that gave the 66ers a 45-33 lead with 6:56 remaining in the first half. Tulsa built as much as a 15-point lead late in the quarter by shooting 65 percent (13-20) from the field, and went into halftime with a 60-49 advantage. McLeod scored eight points in the quarter to keep the Thunderbirds within striking distance, as they shot 7-for-19 from the field and 8-of-10 from the free throw line.

Coming out of halftime, the 66ers built a 68-52 lead after a Larry Owens jumper from the wing capped an 8-3 run. The Thunderbirds rallied with a 6-0 run of their own before the 66ers utilized five turnovers by Albuquerque to spark a 14-2 run to move ahead 82-60 with 2:05 left in the quarter. The 66ers took an 82-64 lead into the final quarter.

A Mullens dunk capped a 14-5 run by the 66ers to move ahead 96-69 with 7:43 left in the game. Mullens scored eight points in the quarter, and Williams had eight fourth quarter rebounds, as the 66ers shot 10-for-23.

The 66ers out rebounded Albuquerque 48-33 for the game, and outscored the Thunderbirds in the paint 54-22. Tulsa shot 43-of-79 (54.4 percent) from the field compared to 28-of-71 (39.4 percent) for the Thunderbirds.

Led by Mullens, Williams and Shakur the 66ers (24-21) improved to 14-7 at home and finished with five players in double-figure scoring. Owens and Moses Ehambe each scored 17 points.

The Thunderbirds (18-29) were led by McLeod with a game-high 29 points, including making 13-of-14 free throws. Toppert and Antoine Agudio each scored 18 points, while Shane Edwards finished with a double-double of 12 points and 13 boards.

Both teams will match up again on Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Tulsa Convention Center .