D-Fenders Charge Past Bighorns
EL SEGUNDO, CA – The Los Angeles D-Fenders toppled the Reno Bighorns 113-102 at Toyota Sports Center on Thursday night. The victory snapped the D-Fenders four-game losing streak and marked their seventh straight win over the Bighorns (dating back to 1/6/12).
Trailing by just five points at halftime despite Reno’s 12-of-18 shooting from three-point range (66.7 3FG%), the D-Fenders outscored the Bighorns 33-18 in the third quarter and 22-21 in the fourth to come away victorious. The 33 point third-quarter output was the highest for the D-Fenders (3-4) this season while the 18 points allowed was tied for the fewest points scored by an opponent in the period.
Six D-Fenders finished in double-figures, headed by Darius Johnson-Odom (28 points [10-10 FT], 5 rebounds, 9 assists), Gary Flowers (21 points, 4 steals, 5 blocks), Courtney Fortson (18 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals), and Orien Greene (15 points). In addition, Jamario Moon recorded a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Jarrid Famous tallied 11 points to go with nine rebounds in the win.
Marcus Landry paced Reno (2-4) with 31 points (11-18 FG, 7-12 3FG), including 19 points in the first quarter. Kevin Murphy contributed 15 points, Garrett Temple totaled 11 points along with nine assists, Tony Wroten posted 11 points, six rebounds and five assists, and Antoine Wright logged 11 points for the Bighorns.
Los Angeles and Reno square off again this Saturday in El Segundo. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 pm.
TURNING POINT At the 7:16 mark in the third quarter, D-Fenders forward Jarrid Famous denied Reno’s Anthony Richardson’s dunk attempt at the rim and Orien Greene nailed a 3-pointer at the other end to tie the score at 72. After the block, LA would close the quarter on a 19-10 run to take a 91-81 lead heading into the fourth.
PLAYER OF THE GAME Darius Johnson-Odom, who finished with 28 points, nine assists, five rebounds and two steals. Aggressive offensively throughout the game, the Marquette product also involved his teammates, notching a season-high in assists. “When you’re a scorer and you have the ball as much as DJO, you have to be willing to give it up,” D-Fenders coach Reggie Theus said. “Tonight, was a good indication he’s capable of doing both.”
UNSUNG HERO Anthony Stover. Though he played just 10 minutes – all in the second half – Theus turned to the seldom-used big man, who had only appeared in two of the six contests prior to the game. Stover, a UCLA product, showed activity down low recording three rebounds and a steal, and Theus praised the forward’s play afterward. “I thought he came in and gave us energy,” the first-year coach said. “His presence was really felt. His defensive presence was really nice. I thought he gave us great energy and he (ran) the floor hard.”
KEY STAT OF THE GAME Reno scored just 39 points in the second half, after recording 36 in the first quarter alone. The D-Fenders outscored the Bighorns by 16 in the second half, limiting Reno to just 13 for 39 shooting (33.3 percent), while forcing 13 turnovers in the final 24 minutes. Theus praised the efforts of Famous and Gary Flowers on that end of the floor, particularly in the third quarter when LA outscored Reno 33-18.
PLAY OF THE NIGHT D-Fenders guard Courtney Fortson, listed at 5-foot-11, denied Reno’s 6-foot-6 Tony Wroten with a block, Jamario Moon gathered the loose ball and threw it ahead to Johnson-Odom, who threw down a windmill slam on the other end.
WHERE THEY STAND The D-Fenders snapped a four-game skid with a 113-102 win over Reno to bring their record to 3-4. They play the Bighorns again on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at the Toyota Sports Center. Elijah Millsap, re-acquired before the game, notched six points and three boards off the bench in 14 minutes. The UAB product played for the D-Fenders a year ago, averaging 19.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 41 games.