66ERS GET BACK TO WORK

After splitting a weekend series with the Erie BayHawks, the 66ers are back in Tulsa to prepare for the final stretch of games of the season.

Tulsa defeated the BayHawks 103-97 on Friday night in Erie, and despite a heartbreaking 98-96 loss in overtime on Saturday, the 66ers remains atop the Western Conference standings with a 28-11 overall record.

With the BayHawks ranked second in the Eastern Conference standings, 66ers head coach Nate Tibbetts said he was not surprised the two games had close finishes.

“I thought both games were highly competitive games,” Tibbetts said. “I thought we competed defensively like we have throughout the year. I thought Friday night we were really good execution-wise in the fourth quarter. I thought on Saturday Erie made the plays down the stretch to win.”

The 66ers now have a handful of days to practice this week before playing two home games on Friday and Saturday against the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

After this weekend, the 66ers hit the road for a stretch of four away games in six nights. Tulsa will play at Utah on Tuesday, March 14, and then will travel to Idaho for a game on Thursday, March 16. It will finish off the trip with a weekend series at Utah on March 18 and 19.

“This week is a great opportunity for our guys to refocus,” Tibbetts said. “This week we’re going to have a talk about the finishing run and focusing on continuing to get better.

“We have nine games in 16 days coming up, so there’s not going to be a lot of practice time. This week is really important as far as the process goes and trying to get better every day. We understand how important it is to finish the season on the right note.”

The 66ers have suited up various starting point guards this season after Zabian Dowdell was called up by the Phoenix Suns and Tweety Carter elected to take an opportunity to play in Europe. Tibbetts said he hopes to use this practice time to improve.

“We have to continue to get better at every position, and that includes point guard play,” Tibbetts said. “We’ve recently added Matt Bouldin to the mix, and Jerome Dyson is playing some point, along with Garrett Williamson and Brandon Brooks.

“Just that change, it always takes a little bit to get adjusted to. I think it’s going to be key to help those guys have some success when it comes to game time.”

Tibbetts said he would also like to use the upcoming practice time to stress the importance of playing at a high-level to close out the regular season.

“We have two home games this weekend that are extremely important and we’re on the road for the next four after that,” Tibbetts said. “They’re all as important as all the other ones have been, and it’s just going to be key that we finish it on the right note.”