66ers Defeat Thunderbirds 100-84, Sweep Weekend Series
TULSA, Okla., March 28, 2010 – Larry Owens finished with a team-high 25 points and five rebounds, as the Tulsa 66ers (25-21) defeated the Albuquerque Thunderbirds (18-30) 100-84 Sunday afternoon at the Tulsa Convention Center. Oklahoma City Thunder assignee Byron Mullens contributed 11 points and a team-high nine boards in the win.
Tulsa started the game on an 18-2 run, capped by a steal for Deron Washington and lay up by Mustafa Shakur, all while forcing seven turnovers by the Thunderbirds. Keith McLeod hit two-straight three-pointers for Albuquerque, as they finished the quarter on a 16-5 run to get to within 23-18 at the break. Owens had nine first quarter points, as the 66ers shot 9-for-23, while the Thunderbirds hit 6-of-15 field goals.
Moses Ehambe scored the first 10 points of the second quarter for the 66ers, as they rallied with a 16-2 run that put them ahead 36-20 with 8:57 remaining in the second quarter. Tulsa built as much as a 19-point advantage before a 7-0 Thunderbirds run cut their deficit to 42-30 after a Shagari Alleyne dunk and McLeod free throw with 3:35 left in the half. Two free throws by Owens at the end of the half capped a 9-2 run that gave the 66ers a 51-32 advantage at halftime. Tulsa forced six turnovers and out rebounded Albuquerque 18-9 during the period, while shooting 10-for-23 from the field. McLeod had six second-quarter points, as the Thunderbirds shot 6-for-19. The 32 points in the first half for the Thunderbirds was a season-low for a 66ers opponent this season.
Both teams traded baskets until late in the third quarter, when the Thunderbirds finished the period on an 11-2 run to cut their deficit to 72-61 going into the final period. Trey Gilder scored nine third-quarter points, as the Thunderbirds shot 9-for-19 from the field and 10-of-10 from the free throw line to outscore the 66ers 29-21 in the period. The 66ers shot 10-for-22 from the field in the quarter.
The 66ers built as much as a 15-point lead early in the fourth quarter at 79-64 after a Marcus Lewis lay up with 9:19 remaining in the game. Then, with Tulsa up by 14 at 89-75 midway through the fourth quarter, the Thunderbirds made their final rally, going on a 9-2 spurt to cut the 66ers lead to 91-84 with 2:15 left. But four late turnovers for the Thunderbirds cost them, as the 66ers finished the game on a 9-0 run to seal the victory. McLeod scored 11 points in the quarter, as the Thunderbirds shot 10-for-17 from the field. Latavious Williams scored eight points, as Tulsa made 9-of-16 field goals and 9-of-11 free throws in the quarter.
The 66ers are winners of two straight games and finished with six players in double-figures scoring. Shakur finished with 13 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals, while Williams added 12 points and eight rebounds off the bench. Washington had 10 points and seven assists, while Ehambe finished with 10 points.
The Thunderbirds were led by McLeod, who had a game-high 30 points and nine rebounds. Shane Edwards added 21 points and eight boards, while Gilder came off the bench to score 11.
Albuquerque travels to face the Reno Bighorns to finish the regular season on Friday, April 2 and Saturday, April 3. The 66ers travel for a big Western Conference contest against the Bighorns tomorrow at 9 p.m. , then to Texas to face the Austin Toros on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., before returning home to finish the regular season against Eastern Conference leader Iowa Energy on April 2 and 3.