Late 66ers comeback falls short against Austin
BY KEVIN HENRY World Correspondent
Saturday, January 19, 2013
1/19/13 at 5:35 AM
Early in the second quarter, Austin Toros head coach Taylor Jenkins yelled a simple directive to his players: Get the rebound and push the ball down the court. His team listened, and the Toros' advantage on the glass proved to be the difference on Friday night.
Austin held a 46-36 edge in rebounding, including Tyler Wilkerson's critical tip-in with 53.2 seconds left, as the Toros won their sixth consecutive game with a 101-99 win over the Tulsa 66ers in an NBA Development League Central Division clash on Friday night inside the SpiritBank Event Center.
Dominique Sutton paced Tulsa with 21 points while Hollis Thompson added 19 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. In all, six Tulsa players scored in double digits, including 11-year NBA veteran Rasual Butler, who scored 10 points in his 66er debut.
Wilkerson's big putback capped off his game-high 23 points, 19 of them tallied in the second half. The forward scored the first 11 points of the third quarter for Austin as the visitors expanded a 51-50 halftime lead to a 62-54 edge less than four minutes into the second half.
"We gave them too many offensive rebounds," lamented Tulsa head coach Darko Rajakovic, who saw his team lose its fourth straight game. "We were fighting back the whole game, but didn't do a good job of boxing out on our rebounds."
Tulsa (9-11) did fight back after Wilkerson's tip, pulling within 99-96 on Andy Rautin's jumper with 32.2 seconds left. Tulsa looked as if it would pull closer when Chris Quinn stole the ball at midcourt, but he missed the ensuing layup and Austin came down with the rebound. Tre Kelley hit a pair of free throws with 9.3 seconds left to secure the win for Austin (12-9).
After a back-and-forth first quarter, Austin grabbed momentum by opening the second period with an 8-0 run, highlighted by a Wilkerson dunk and former 66er and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Kyle Weaver's jumper that forced a Tulsa timeout with 9:33 left in the period and Austin holding a 33-24 advantage.
Tulsa would claw its way back into the game with an 11-4 spurt later in the period, then score the last four points of the period to trail just 51-50 at halftime.
Tulsa's Tony Taylor defends Austin's Tre Kelley during Friday's game. BRETT ROJO/For the Tulsa World