Add an injury, a couple bad breaks, handling a couple of runs (for and against) in each game, and that's what you get from a crazy weekend for the Iowa Energy.
The injury sustained was by Brandon Ewing in Friday night's win over Fort Wayne where he dislocated his right middle finger. His return is unknown but Ewing is optimistic he will only miss a few weeks.
"He's a steady hand for us," said Head Coach Kevin Young, who is in his first season with Iowa. "The thing about the D-League however is that you have to coach who's out there. We had guys who stepped up."
Friday, Dec. 16 - Iowa 95, Fort Wayne 88
Thanks to 11-2 run to start out the game, the Energy (7-3) held on to the lead throughout the night over the Mad Ants (3-4). Thomas Baudinet hit all seven shots he attempted in the opening quarter, and ended up with a game-high 21 points.
Baudinet wasn't the only one who reached double digits Friday night for Iowa. Nick Murphy followed along by scoring 12 with 11 rebounds. Also scoring double digits for the Energy were Brandon Ewing (despite playing 19 minutes due to his injury) with 12, Andrew Drevo with 12, Anthony SImpson with 13, Michael Tveidt with 11 points and Ben Strong turning in 10 in 20 minutes of play Friday night.
Despite having a comfortable lead early in the first half, the Mad Ants were not afraid to charge back. The smallest lead the Energy had was six with under a minute to play.
Marvin Phillips had the lone double-double for Fort Wayne on the night as he turned in 15 points and 10 rebounds, four of those coming off the offensive end.
Shooting woes were the Achilles' heel for Fort Wayne as they shot 34 percent from the field (30-87). For Iowa, they shot 53 percent despite being cold from three-point land.
Saturday, Dec. 17 - Iowa 101, Reno 97
NIck Covington was celebrating his son's birthday the night before not even knowing the next day he would hop on a plane to the Midwest to play a semi-pro basketball game. Well, he did just that as he arrived at Wells Fargo Arena just hours before tip-off against the Reno Bighorns (3-5).
"I was coaching a high school game, then celebrated my son's birthday at midnight, went to the gym a little bit, and headed to the airport for my 6 a.m. flight," Covington said."I really didn't get much sleep, but I'm glad to be here and I think this is going to be a good situation."
Covington's impact may not show in the box score with two points and an assist, but Coach Young believces he made a big contribution tonight.
"He didn't turn the ball over, played good defense, and got us into our stuff," Young said of Covington.
Someone who did make an impact in the box score was Michael Tveidt, who had 28 points and 10 rebounds. The North Dakota State grad is averaging just over 10 points a game in 10 games.
Ben Strong turned in 28 good minutes: 13 points and 10 rebounds. Defensively, he thinks, is what led to Iowa to a close victory.
"What we do is call it the "stop sign," Strong explains. What it is is a basic handcheck to not allow their opponent to get position.
Reno's forwards and center Terrance Thomas totaled for an amount of 57 points on the evening for Reno. The Bighorns put up 90 shots on the night; 38 of those were makes. Thomas was the leading scorer for Reno with 26 points and seven rebounds. Former Loyola-Marymount standout Chris Ayer had a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds.
Iowa's next matchup is with the Maine Red Claws on Friday and SAturday in Portland, Maine. For the Bighorns, their next game is at home against Idaho on Wednesday. Wednesday's game is the first of a three-game series against the Stampede.