Smiles beamed on the faces of the Iowa Energy as they headed back to the locker room as they returned back to their locker room after defeating Canton 107-100 Thursday night.
Mike Efevberha led the way with 31 points and he was one of the many Energy players relieved to actually win one, especially at home.
"Safe to say we needed that one," Efevberha said. "Just as coach (Kevin Young) told us before the game, our playoff push starts now. We have six or so games left, and we need all that we can get."
This win was all Energy all the way, even though Canton stayed within reach the entire 48 minutes. Canton's big man Luke Harangody was definitely the lead man in this game with 26 points and pulling down 21 rebound, a season-high for a Canton player in a game.
However, the Energy had six guys with double figures, including newcomer Paul Harris. Harris played his college ball at Syracuse and contributed 16 points on 7-for-13 shooting from the floor.
Harris wasn't expecting to play in this game. Instead, he was on his way home.
"I got the call while I was on my way to Niagara Falls, because I haven't seen them in awhile, and then (Chris) Makris called me, and here I am," Harris said. "I'm very thankful and humble for this opportunity."
Makris and Young have always had an eye on Harris since his Orangemen days.
"We like what he brings," Young said. "He's a veteran guard who is a leader and is a good communicator on the floor, and that's what we need."
Harris points out his communication is his style of play.
"I like to talk loud when on the floor," Harris said. "I like to be a leader, and that's the way I've been since a young player."
Team leader Moses Ehambe knew how big this win was, and also how the loss to the Erie BayHawks the night before propelled his team to win in this one.
"Last night gave us a wake-up call," Ehambe said. "We realized it's a type of 'win or go home' mentality. We have to bring it every night now."
The Energy have to push forward without last year's league MVP Curtis Stinson. Stinson acquired a back injury during the Erie game.
"We know how badly he wants to come back, but I think he's going to be shut down for the rest of the season," Young said. "We'll let the doctors handle everything."
Stinson's plan is more optimistic.
"I just have to take it one day at a time," he said. "Whatever I got to do to get back, I will."
What he did Thursday night was being the biggest cheerleader for his team.
"I'll support the team from the bench, no doubt," Stinson said. "Tonight was the type of way we needed to come out."
Iowa currently sits with the number eight seed in the D-League as the Energy travel down south with two games against the Toros and the Legends.