The Austin Spurs had another weekend back-to-back versus the Oklahoma City Blue last week, with the silver and black putting on arguably their best and worst performances of the season.
But before Saturday night’s matinee, the Spurs received a roster boost, announcing three roster moves before taking on the Blue. For starters, Austin took advantage of bolstering the forward position via trade by sending Keith Wright to the Westchester Knicks in exchange for Wesley Saunders.
The 6-foot-6 Saunders went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft out of Harvard, and quickly latched on with the Utah Jazz Summer League team. After being cut from the final roster, Saunders joined the D-League Knicks, averaging 4.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 18 minutes per game off the bench.
Also rejoining the Austin Spurs were Lamar Patterson and Walter Tavares, on assignment from the Atlanta Hawks, and free agent center Mouhamed Sene.
Patterson and Tavares are no strangers to Austin, playing in a combined 19 games for the Spurs this season. The Hawks duo has been a force in the D-League with Patterson averaging 15.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.7 assists in 34 minutes per game, while Tavares is averaging a near double-double with 10.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per contest.
On the other hand, Sene is making his return to Austin after signing with the Spurs last March. The former first round pick played in seven games for Austin last season, averaging 5.7 points and 4.1 rebounds in limited action for Ken McDonald’s squad.
With the new firepower in uniform, the Spurs managed a quick 8-0 run to begin the first quarter of Saturday afternoon’s matchup in Oklahoma City. After a strong first quarter, the wheels came off and the Spurs’ offense began to resemble the properties of a clogged toilet. The Austin Spurs were held to season-lows in field goal percentage (.357), assists (11) and points (78), as the Oklahoma City Blue held the Spurs to a total of 27 points in the second half en route to a 90-78 win.
After the crushing defeat, the Spurs would use their six-hour bus ride back to Cedar Park as a way to rejuvenate and refocus for Sunday’s matchup, which proved to be the polar opposite of Saturday’s debacle.
The Spurs had monster games from Tavares and Cady Lalanne as the big men would combine for 42 points and 21 rebounds, with Tavares notching a double-double in the first half. Keifer Sykes also managed to light up the scoreboard with 18 points as the Spurs would cruise to a 110-104 win with five players in double figures.
Unfortunately for the Austin Spurs, it’s going to be a few days before we can see if Sunday’s momentum carries over to another victory. The Idaho Stampede (14-25) will be looking to play spoiler at the Spurs’ playoff chances on Sunday, March 6th. Tipoff is at 3 p.m. from the Cedar Park Center.
Bryce Cotton seems to be getting more comfortable with his Flying Tigers teammates, but it’s not resulting in any wins. Cotton led the Xinjiang Flying Tigers with 23 points in Monday’s loss to the Sichuan Blue Whales. Since his arrival in China, Cotton is averaging 21.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists for Xinjiang. However, his team is on the brink of elimination as Sichuan won on Wednesday to take a commanding 3-0 series lead.
- The Austin Spurs will be hosting First Responders Night on Sunday, March 6th. Members of the Central Texas fire and police departments will take part in the annual Guns versus Hoses basketball game starting at noon, before tipoff of Spurs-Stampede.
- On Saturday, March 5th, the Austin Spurs will also be hosting a Spring Skills Clinic for kids. Registration is $10 and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Rising Stars Foundation.
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