Altitude lose to Flame
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - With just six players available for most of the game, the Florida Flame (17-30) spoiled any possibility of the Asheville Altitude being able to host a first-round playoff game by rolling to a 114-106 win at the Civic Center.
Florida point guard Smush Parker led the charge recording his second triple-double in six days finishing with 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Center Hiram Fuller added 29 points and eight rebounds, while Tim Pickett chipped in with 24 points.
As a team, Florida shot 54.3 percent (44-for-81) from the field and 53.8 percent (7-for-13) from three-point land.
Ron Slay led Asheville (26-21) with 20 points. Terrence Shannon chipped with 18 points while Joe Forte added 15 points. Kirk Penney and Lenny Stokes added 13 points each.
"They were just hot tonight", said Altitude head coach Joey Meyer. "We tried as many different combinations we could to stop them. We went to a quick team, we went big and we even went small, but nothing slowed them down. You just have to give them credit, they shot lights out tonight."
Florida appeared to be no problem for the Altitude early as Asheville jumped out to a quick lead by playing team basketball. But with a little more than three minutes left to play before the end of the first half, Florida turned up the heat.
With all five of its final field goals in the half coming from behind the three-point line, Florida erased a 15 point deficit to go into the locker room tied at 59 each. Parker was huge in the final three minutes of the half scoring 11 of his 30 points during that stretch.
"We just wanted to come out and play with a little intensity," said Parker. "We knew that everybody thought we would come out here and lay down because we're not in the playoffs, but we had different intentions. We wanted to come out and play hard so we could finish the season strong."
With the deficit gone, the Flame continued its hot shooting in the third quarter going 12-of-19 (63 percent) from the field. Pickett was huge in the third quarter missing just two of the six shots he attempted for eight points.
"We didn't play good defense tonight", Shannon said. "We didn't rotate quick enough on defense, and when you don't rotate on Florida, they can knock down open shots all night. And when we did get a hand up in their face, we were giving up too many second chance points and easy lay-ups. We've got to play better defense heading into the playoffs."
Asheville got the lead down to nine points a couple of times in the fourth, but Florida stayed hot and kept the Altitude rally at bay.
"This feels good", said Fuller. "It's feels good to win a game that no one thought we had a chance to win. But that's a testament to the character of the guys in this locker room."
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