Flyers Outlast Arsenal
FORT WORTH, Texas, December 22, 2006 - The Fort Worth Flyers fought for their eighth victory of the season after leading by as much as 21 points; the visiting Anaheim Arsenal staged a second half comeback to pull within eight points. The Flyers, however, pulled out another victory and remain undefeated at home after the 132-122 win.
In the first quarter, play remained steady as the opponents exchanged goals. The opening quarter featured three lead changes and four ties. The Flyers shot 70 percent while holding the Arsenal to a measly 44 percent. Guard Kelenna Azubuike scored the final four points of the frame to give the Flyers a 33-28 lead.
In the second frame, a three-point play by guard Maurice Ager gave the Flyers their first double-digit lead, 42-30 with 9:00 remaining. Thereafter, the Flyers built a solid lead which peaked at 62-42 with 3:12 to go. However, Anaheim attempted a furious comeback, and by the end of the half, whittled the Flyers' advantage to 68-56.
Head coach Sidney Moncrief said ball movement was good, but not consistent.
"When we stopped moving the basketball, we stopped sharing the ball, we got stagnant on offense and that hurt us on the defensive end," he said.
In the half, forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu led the Flyers with 14 points and also chipped in four rebounds. The Flyers still had the field goal percent advantage, 61 percent to Anaheim's 48 percent.
In the third quarter, Fort Worth maintained its double-digit lead, never dipping below 12. Azubuike put the Flyers over the century mark with 2:41 remaining to make the score 101-82. Then, the Arsenal went on a 10-3 run but still couldn't manage the deficit. The Flyers led 104-92 at the end of the third.
In the final quarter, Anaheim once again attempted a comeback. The Arsenal made the score 119-111 with 4:27 to go, but consecutive field goals by Mensah-Bonsu put Fort Worth up 123-111. Anaheim continued to fight, but the Flyers cruised to a well-earned victory, 132-122.
"Teams are going to make a run," Moncrief said. "You're not going to keep a team down by 21 the entire way. Anytime a game gets down to eight, under double digits - it's not a good thing."
Moncrief said he felt in general the team could have done a better job maintaining a defensive concentration and remaining intense.
For the second game in a row, two players assigned by the Dallas Mavericks helped the Flyers to a win. Ager had 22 points, four rebounds and three assists in 27 minutes; Mensah-Bonsu led all scorers with 29 points, and chipped in nine rebounds and two blocks.
Moncrief said Mensah-Bonsu came through on offense after going scoreless the previous game.
"Offensively, he put himself in a position to score," Moncrief said. "Our players did a tremendous job of getting him the ball where he could finish. And he finished well; he played well tonight."
For the game, the Flyers held Anaheim to 48 percent, and Fort Worth shot 60 percent. The Flyers also had more rebounds, 42, than the Arsenal who had 33.
Azubuike also did well for the Flyers, with 27 points and six rebounds; center Deji Akindele had 13 points and seven rebounds from the bench.
Anaheim was led by guard Davin White, who notched 25 points, plus three rebounds and five assists. Forward Corsley Edwards led the team in rebounds with 12 and added 20 points.
The Flyers improve to 8-1 while the Arsenal drop to 4-8. Fort Worth remains undefeated at home and holds the best overall record in the D-League.
The Arsenal will travel to Tulsa to take on the 66ers tomorrow; tipoff is set for 7 p.m. The Flyers will face the Colorado 14ers tomorrow at the Broomfield Events Center. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.
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