Drive Fall Tuesday Night in Wilmington
WILMINGTON - The Delaware Blue Coats (11-17) played well down the stretch to earn a home win over the Grand Rapids Drive (13-17) by a 108-100 final on Tuesday night. Eight players scored at least eight points for Delaware, with Shake Milton leading all players with 27 points, including 4-of-5 from three-point range.
The Blue Coats started off the fourth quarter strong after a back-and-forth first 36 minutes, going on a 14-2 run with seven minutes remaining in the game to go up 101-87. The Drive knocked that lead down to five points with 1:49 to play, but were unable to score again until seventeen seconds remaining.
Haywood Highsmith and D.J. Hogg each scored 14 points for the Blue Coats as well, Jarred Vanderbilt managed 11 points and 12 rebounds in 18 minutes, and Ryan Anderson also picked up a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.
For the Drive, Isaiah Whitehead led the team in scoring for the second night in a row, finishing with 22 points while adding three steals. Johnny Hamilton made the most of his 22 minutes of action with 20 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks, Speedy Smith added 18 points and a game-high nine assists, and Marcus Thornton scored 14 points. Jon Horford also added 12 rebounds in the effort.
Delaware's defense was able to bother the Drive's guards all night, as six players recorded at least two steals and ultimately they forced 26 turnovers, the most the Drive have surrendered this season. The Drive were just one shy of their season high by recording 10 blocks and out-rebounded the Blue Coats 54-47, but it ultimately wasn't enough.
The game featured 14 lead changes and 10 ties, and although Delaware pulled away early in the fourth, it was ultimately their defense and free throw shooting in the final two minutes (6-of-7 from the line after the Drive were forced to foul) that sealed the victory.
Snapping a four-game slide with the win, the Blue Coats will stay at home for another game Wednesday night, this time hosting the Windy City Bulls. The Drive concluded their East coast road trip and will return to Grand Rapids to take on the Westchester Knicks on Friday and Fort Wayne Mad Ants on Saturday.
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