The Tulsa 66ers jumped out to an early lead over the Austin Toros and never looked back, as they pulled off their second-straight home win, 94-83 in front of an announced crowd of 2,748 at the Tulsa Convention Center Thursday night. Larry Owens and Jerome Dyson led Tulsa with 18 points each while Latavious Williams recorded a double-double in his first game of the season. Williams, the second-year 66er that last season became the first player to make the jump from high school and straight into the NBA D-League, added 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Tulsa started off with a quick 4-0 lead Elijah Millsap dunk and a layup from Owens within the first minute, as the defense keyed in on the Toros. "I thought our guys played with great effort and energy from the beginning," said 66ers head coach Nate Tibbetts. "We’ve been giving up 107 points a game defensively and one of our goals tonight was to try to hold them under 100 (points) and our guys really stepped up and did that.
The 66ers displayed a strong defensive effort, and came away with 18 rebounds, including five from Oklahoma City Thunder asignee Cole Aldrich, while the Toros managed 11 boards. Owens’ nine points paved the way for a 28-15 Tulsa lead after one quarter of play.
Austin pulled back within nine points at the half, despite Tulsa’s defense holding them to a field goal percentage of .295. Austin head coach Brad Jones was ejected from the game at half-time after picking up his second technical foul in 36-seconds.
With less than a minute remaining, Jones became very vocal while protesting a non-call during a Toros possession, resulting in a technical. Zabian Dowdell sank the free throw to put Tulsa ahead 46-33 before the final seconds ticked off of the clock. As the Toros left the bench to head to the locker room, Jones approached the officiating crew as they stood at mid-court and began shouting. He was promptly tossed, which resulted in Tulsa starting the second half with a free throw and possession of the ball.
The 66ers led by as many as 19 points until the Toros outscored them 17-5 through the middle of the third quarter to cut Tulsa’s lead to single-digits. Michael Joiner‘s jump shot with 43-seconds left cut the 66ers lead to five at the break.
Tulsa slowly rebuilt their lead in the fourth quarter, moving 10 points ahead on a Tweety Carter trey with 7:40 remaining. The 66ers connected on five-of-eight attempts from behind the arc in the final quarter, and finished the game shooting 42-percent from both the field and three-point range. Tulsa’s high-pressure defense held Austin to 35-percent from the field while the Toros connected on just 25-percent of their three-point attempts.
Photos by: Kevin Pyle
The 66ers (3-2) will now hit the road to take on the Texas Legends (3-1) in Frisco, Texas. Tulsa will return to the Convention Center to host the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in a 4 p.m. tip-off. The Vipers were crowned as the 2009-10 D-League champions after defeating the 66ers two games to none in a best-of-three series last April.
Tickets for all 66ers home games are available online or by calling 918-585-8444.