AUSTIN – An explosive fourth quarter nearly rallied the Austin Spurs to victory, but poor defense would inevitably doom the silver and black as they fell to the Texas Legends, 130-125.
Bryn Forbes, who was assigned to Austin earlier in the day, led the way with a team-high 35 points. Forbes also managed to record four rebounds, five assists and three steals in his 35 minutes of action. Dan Nwaelele shot a blistering 5-for-7 from beyond the arc to finish with 20 points off the bench. Charles Garcia and Cory Jefferson each finished with 12 points, while Jeff Ledbetter chipped in 11.
For the Legends, Manny Harris was absolutely unstoppable as he finished with 47 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals. Jameel Warney recorded a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds. C.J. Williams added 18 points for Texas, while former Sacramento Kings forward Quincy Acy had 17 points and six rebounds. Tony Wroten had 11 points off the bench.
Both teams would be deadlocked early on, finishing the first quarter tied at 32 points.
The Spurs struggled offensively in the second quarter shooting just 36 percent from the field, but Austin’s shaky defense would be exposed as halftime neared. The Legends used a 13-3 run to close out the quarter and head into halftime leading 65-52 behind 23 points from Harris.
“We have a really soft team right now,” Austin Spurs head coach Ken McDonald said heading into the locker room. “We need to fix that in the second half.”
McDonald’s displeasure with his teams’ defensive effort would not be solved in the second half. The Legends scored at least 32 points in every quarter, pushing their lead to as much as 21 points in the fourth quarter.
Austin would attempt their late game heroics with six minutes remaining in the game, down 20 points to the Legends.
A 14-4 run put Austin within 10 points with three minutes remaining, before 3-pointers by Ledbetter and Nwaelele put the Spurs within single digits.
Harris would hit a pair of buckets to put Texas back up 10, but Nwaelele’s fifth 3-pointer of the game, paired with a couple free throws from Jarell Eddie, gave the Legends a 125-120 lead with 30 seconds remaining. Forbes and Ledbetter put the Spurs within three points before the Legends sealed the game at the free throw line to win by five.
The loss puts the Austin Spurs (7-11) in the eighth spot in the Western Conference with one more game left to close out 2016. Friday night’s game against the struggling Iowa Energy (2-15) will tipoff at 7:30 p.m. CST from the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park.