Though the past few games have held the same mentality, a loss on Thursday night meant the Toros (22-27) season would end Saturday night. Prior to the game the Legends (23-26) were two games ahead of the Toros and had possession of the final playoff spot.
Keeping it close in the first quarter, the Toros struggled shooting 37%; however, their effectiveness from long distance (5-8) provided them with the lead heading in to the second. Off the bench Michael Joiner’s long shot with a few tics on the clock put the Toros up 27-26.
In the second the Toros were able to stretch their lead. With 7:36 remaining in the half Aubrey Coleman was successful with a steal and had an open slam dunk. The shot put the Toros up 42-36 and resulted in a Legends timeout. Joe Alexander and Antonio Daniels combined for 19 of the Legends 27 points in the quarter.
The importance of this game was apparent in the fourth quarter as both teams were determined to get the win. With 1:16 remaining in the game Marcus Cousin’s dunk put the Toros up by five. Alexander answered with a jumper seconds later and closed the lead to two. Squeaky Johnson’s teardrop made it a two possession game. With 25.9 seconds remaining Cousin was sent to the charity stripe and was successful on both shots, making it a six point game. The game turned in to a battle of the free throws.
With 13.3 remaining in the game the Toros were clinging to their lead, 116-112. Fast ball movement by Leo Lyons allowed for an open layup for Johnson with less than 10 seconds remaining. The game didn’t end there. Another trip to the free throw line occurred. Rashad McCants 3-point jumper at the buzzer was too little too late for the Legends as the Toros took the game, 120-118.
With the D-League regular season coming to an end and NBA playoffs just days away, it is likely that Alexander will land a spot on an NBA roster for playoff security. He’s currently 4th in the D-League averaging 19.5 ppg while adding 8.8 rbg.
Legends’ Alexander has been successful against the Toros all season including a previous season high 34 points at the beginning of March. Thursday night he put up 38 points and seven rebounds.
Three Toros players scored more than 20 points ( Palmer 20, Cousin 22, and Coleman 23). Cousin led the team with 11 rebounds.
The Legends currently hold the series lead at (4-3). Both teams return for their final game of the season Saturday night at Cedar Park Center.