They maintained a small lead through three quarters, but the Owensboro Thoroughbreds had to hold off a late rally to beat the Raleigh Firebirds 114-108 for their first win of the season.
Cordaryl Ballard, Westley Hinton and Anthony Jones Jr. combined for 74 points and 19 rebounds to lead Owensboro (1-2) to victory. Raleigh (0-3) took a five-point lead midway through the fourth quarter before the Thoroughbreds closed strong.
Head coach Adam Chrisco said Owensboro had to lock down their defensive effort late to slow down the Firebirds.
“They hit a lot of perimeter shots, and they were also getting in the lane,” Chrisco said. “We had to figure out if we wanted to stop the 3 or stop the drive. For the most part we picked the drive — take away the easy layup.”
Good defense at one end led to good offense at the other, Chrisco said, and late execution was key for finally getting in the win column.
“We stayed really dedicated on offense,” Chrisco said. “We didn’t force the ball and commit turnovers. The offensive rhythm was starting to come. We were exploiting our mismatches really well.”
Following two losses at home to start the season, Chrisco said his team made some adjustments to put up a better fight.
“They came out tonight and responded,” he said. “I saw a totally different type of attitude, so I’m proud of them.”
Owensboro hosts Raleigh again Tuesday night to finish off their two-day doubleheader.
Tampa Bay 29-22-32-25–108
OWB: Cordaryl Ballard 27, Westley Hinton 24, Anthony Jones Jr. 23, Dominic Phillips 12, Demarcus Robinson 12, James Still 6, Brett McKnight 4, Sam Sykes 3, Corey Wilford 2, Odgra Bobo 1