14ers Sweep Thunderbirds for the Season
Albuquerque, N.M. - The Albuquerque Thunderbirds closed out their 2007-08 season at Tingley Coliseum on a bittersweet note; a record 5,347 screaming fans witnessed the Thunderbirds fall short in a furious comeback, 116-109.
Will Conroy scored 21 of his game high 32 points in the fourth quarter, helping Albuquerque slice a 20-point deficit down to 4 points with 1:13 remaining in the game. The Thunderbirds could get no closer as Colorado completed their season sweep of Albuquerque.
With the NBA D-League playoffs looming close, the 14ers elected to sit their primary starters the entire second half, giving their bench a chance to shine. Damien Lolar paced Colorado with 31 points in the contest and three other reserves scored in double-digits.
The strange ejection of Thunderbirds head coach Jeff Ruland midway through the third quarter seemed to have ignited Albuquerque's late run; they trimmed a 26-point Colorado lead in the period down to 17, setting up Conroy's valiant fourth quarter effort.
The 14ers dominated the first three quarters of play, never allowing the Thunderbirds to take a lead in the game. A 7-point first quarter lead turned into a 10-point halftime lead as Albuquerque struggled to keep the pace.
Colorado out-rebounded the Thunderbirds 53-39 and was led by Justin Cage who had the only double-double of the game with 19 points and 12 boards.
Ramon Dyer turned in a solid performance for Albuquerque scoring 22 and grabbing 9 rebounds.
14ers standout players Kaniel Dickens and Eddie Gill combined for only 19 minutes and 48 seconds of action on the night.
Albuquerque will miss the playoffs for the first time in the team's existence. Colorado will make their second appearance in the D-League playoffs, last season the 14ers fell in overtime to the Dakota Wizards in the D-League championship.
Thunderbirds 2008-09 season tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at Thunderbirds front office at 111 Lomas Blvd. NE, Suite 240, Albuquerque, NM 87102. For premium or group seating call the Thunderbirds office at (505) 265-DUNK.
The Thunderbirds stay focused on the community by participating in community events such as the Read to Achieve Program as well as D-League Cares. In the past two seasons the Thunderbirds have worked over 3,000 hours in the community, staying dedicated to Albuquerque and New Mexico.
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