Balanced Spurs Fend off Drive
AUSTIN - Bolstered by seven players scoring at least nine points, the Austin Spurs (17-13) held on for a 104-93 win over the Grand Rapids Drive (14-17) at home on Saturday night on the strength of a fourth quarter where they outscored the Drive by 14. The Spurs picked up their second consecutive win while the loss for the Drive was their third in as many games.
Despite playing just 23 minutes off the bench, Olivier Hanlan led the Spurs with 19 points. Hanlan also led all players with a +/- rating of positive-18 for the game. Darrun Hilliard scored 16 points against his former team and Nick Johnson chipped in 15 points as well.
The Drive were also paced in scoring by a bench player as Bronson Koenig had 20 points. Landry Nnoko finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Grand Rapids and Marcus Thornton continued to provide scoring off the bench with 15 points of his own.
The Spurs jumped on the Drive early, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The Drive managed just 13 first-quarter points to set a new season low and Austin had a 14-point lead at halftime. But the Drive were able to rally by outscoring Austin 58-41 in the next two quarters, heading into the final frame with a three-point lead.
Austin, however, was quick to take control back from that point as they responded built a five-point lead before four minutes had passed in the fourth quarter, and they pulled away in the final minutes to win by double digits after the Drive kept the deficit close until four minutes to go.
The slow pace of the game allowed Austin to only attempt 80 field goals as a team, but they connected on 41 of them for a robust 51 percent efficiency from the field. The Drive's 46 percent was not much lower, but they were unable to separate themselves from the Spurs in any other statistical category and ultimately were not able to keep up with them in the final 12 minutes.
The Spurs are next in action against the Agua Caliente Clippers on the road on Wednesday night, while the Drive continue their road trip with a matchup with the Salt Lake City Stars on Tuesday night.
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