66ers start season with home win
BY ZAK PATTERSON World Sports Writer
Saturday, November 24, 2012
11/24/12 at 6:58 AM
BIXBY - A swarming defense and balanced offensive attack led the Tulsa 66ers past the Texas Legends 83-76 at the SpiritBank Event Center in the season opener for both teams.
Tulsa held Texas to 31 first-half points on just 34.4 percent shooting, and forced 13 turnovers. The Legends finished with 21 turnovers and shot 38.8 percent.
"It felt great, my players did a great job in fighting all 48 minutes," said first-year coach Darko Rajakovic. "We did a good job defending one-on-one, but we definitely need to improve our recovery defense, and communicate better.
"It's very important to grow, and I can see those guys are getting better every day. This is just the beginning of the process. Of course, it's good to win."
DeAndre Liggins, who was called up from the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, posted a triple-double in his 66ers debut with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists.
OKC McGuinness High School graduate Daniel Orton, who was also assigned to the squad on Thursday, had 10 points and 11 boards.
Dominique Sutton added 13 points and six rebounds, and Andy Rautins had 11 points, going 3-of-7 from 3-point range.
It was the first home game for the 66ers at SpiritBank Event Center since 2008-09, when Tulsa went 8-17 at home. The Tulsa Convention Center hosted the squad for the past three seasons.
With a roster featuring only two players from last year's team, the 66ers showed a lack of chemistry at times on the offensive side of the ball. Tulsa had 22 turnovers, including 10 in the opening stanza.
"We had problems with turnovers, and that's something we need to improve," said Rajakovic.
Texas jumped out to an early 18-14 lead, but an 11-0 run capped off by back-to-back dunks by Orton and Sutton gave the 66ers a lead that they never relinquished. The Legends cut the lead to one at 48-47 with 2:35 remaining in the third quarter, but the 66ers responded with a 7-1 run to close the quarter.
The Legends were led by Chris Roberts and Chris Douglas-Roberts. Douglas-Roberts had 31 points and five rebounds, and Roberts posted 22 points, seven boards, and several spectacular dunks. Former Oklahoma Sooner and NBA player Eduardo Najera made his debut at head coach for Texas.
Five of the next six games for Tulsa are at home. The 66ers take on Texas again at 4 p.m Sunday.