Three teams played particularly in the third quarter last night; one was able to bounce back, but it likely cost two of them a win.
Sioux Falls Skyforce 109, Iowa Energy 99
The Iowa Energy have finally lost a game, and the Skyforce were able to take them down even with Reggie Williams still out. They did it basically by using Iowa's game against them - specifically, hitting a bunch of threes. Sioux Falls shot almost 54 percent from outside compared to just 27 percent for the Energy. David Bailey led the way by making four of his seven attempts (25 points total), Keith Brumbaugh was a perfect 3-3 (20 points) and Mike Nelson, Leemire Goldwire and Pete Campbell were a combined 6-11 from outside in relief. Joe Krabbenhoft did it a different way, getting to the free throw line and finishing with 23 points on 15 shots along with 13 rebounds.
Iowa just couldn't hit their shots. Starters Pat Carroll (zero points) and Jeff Trepagnier (four points on 1-6 shooting) gave them nothing, and Rashad Anderson made only two of the eight three-pointers he put up. Earl Barron (22 points) and Mark Tyndale (21 points) each got to the free-throw line to compensate, and Barron added 12 rebounds, but this team was bound to have an off-night eventually. The third quarter was particularly disastrous; Iowa hit just six field goals in the period, and three of those came in the last minute and a half. They were able to make some foul shots to keep from going completely under, but that level of futility from the field hurts.
The rest of last night's games are after the jump.
Austin Toros 110, Albuquerque Thunderbirds 104
These two teams should be familiar with each other, this being the fourth time they've played so far this season (with another game tonight), but the Thunderbirds just don't have anyone who can keep Dwayne Jones off the boards. Jones had 27 points and 24 rebounds last night, and he was pretty much the only Toro who produced in the first half (he had 18 and 10 at the break). Curtis Jerrells went off in the second half, scoring 15 points in the fourth quarter to give him 34 total, along with seven assists. The team got some nice contributions from Alonzo Gee (15 points, seven of which came at the free throw line), Lewis Clinch (13 points) and Justin Bowen (11 points and seven rebounds off the bench), but it was really Jerrells and especially Jones who got this win for Austin.
Believe it or not, Kevin Pittsnogle actually played a decent game, mostly in the second half when he hit a couple of threes to end the third quarter and a few more shots to open the fourth. Yaroslav Korolev got another double-double with 19 points (on nine shots) and 12 boards and Carlos Powell scored 25 points before fouling out, and the Thunderbirds also got 17 points from Anthony Dandridge in 19 and a half minutes off the bench. They kept it close for most of the game, but Albuquerque had a terrible third quarter, both on offense (they went five and a half minutes without scoring a point) and defense (Jerrells didn't miss a shot in the quarter, and Gee and Jones only missed one a piece). And of course there's the rebounding issue. Erek Hansen is back, which helps, but this team will continue to struggle against strong rebounding centers
Reno Bighorns 98, Bakersfield Jam 90
Reno had a terrible third quarter, just 17 points scored and a six minute stretch with no points, but they were able to get to the free throw line with striking regularity in the fourth (18 of their 31 points in the quarter came on foul shots) to keep Bakersfield winless. They were helped by Amara Sy getting ejected on a flagrant 2 followed by Will Voigt getting a tech (presumably for arguing about the flagrant) as well as Terrance Gamble getting his own with 12 seconds left (?). Desmon Farmer finished a perfect 12-12 from the free throw line on the way to 27 points. If you asked me who would be the second person to record a triple-double this season, "Mo Charlo" would not be my answer. It almost happened, though, and despite being a big part of that six minute scoreless stretch in the third, Charlo finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. Rod Benson didn't have the best shooting night, perhaps still feeling the affects of his bout with food poisoning, but he did collect 14 rebounds. If I had to point to one thing this team needs, it's better bench production. Just 15 points for Reno's reserves last night, and while I like Majic Dorsey, he missed a ton of shots in that third quarter (okay, two) and just generally hasn't played well so far this year.
Amara Sy threw a low blow at Mo Charlo's nether regions with the Jam were up 88-86. Stemming from this, Reno scored 12 straight points (actually the run had started before the flagrant and totaled 17 points) due to all of the free throws resulting from that play and the subsequent Voigt technical. Dear Coach Voigt: sending your opponent to the free-throw line helps them, and doesn't fire your team up. John Williams did a lot to help his team; 25 points, 6-9 from outside, and five assists. He also did a lot to give it away, namely with eight turnovers; two of those came on palming calls, and two came on losing the ball out of bounds. Tyrelle Blair didn't shoot particularly well but grabbed 13 rebounds.
Fort Wayne Mad Ants 124, Springfield Armor 107
So I guess even with Morris Almond, the Armor just aren't very good. The Mad Ants got nice, balanced scoring as seven players scored in double figures, including 23 points each from Ron Howard and Rod Wilmont, and 22 points and 11 boards from Rob Kurz (a good day to be a guy with a three-letter first name beginning with R, I suppose). Kyle McAlarney picked up nine assists, his highest total yet by far, and Anthony Kent grabbed six rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench (hey, maybe he's found his role, hint hint). Fort Wayne was able to jump out to an early lead by getting to the free throw line (and some, okay a lot of, missed shots by the Armor), and they never looked back.
Almond had a terrific game, 39 points on 11-17 shooting and five rebounds, which is partially him and partially what happens when Ryan Ayers guards you just as much as Ron Howard. Unfortunately for Springfield, no one else really got going. JamesOn Curry made seven of his eight field goals on the way to 16 points, but had just two assists and four turnovers. TJ Cummings had 12 rebounds but needed to throw up 22 shots to get 22 points. Kentrell Gransberry played just 10 minutes, and I'm not really sure why. He may not be able to put up double-doubles every night with 30 minutes of playing time, but he can at least give more than this. They're not really getting any consistency right now, but hey, at least pro basketball is back in Springfield.