Saturday, January 2, 2010

A look inside Saturday night's Tulsa-Sioux Falls boxscore

What layoff? Sure, Tulsa had played just two games in 12 days, but you couldn't tell there was any rust on the 66ers on Saturday night after watching them post a 126-110 victory over Sioux Falls.

On the surface, there was plenty to notice. The 126 points tied for the fourth-highest total in franchise history, and Tulsa PR man Ryan Williams will probably be up most of the night rewriting the season highs page in the media advisories handed out before each game. You just knew it was going to be that kind of night when Tulsa broke its previous season highs in scoring for the first and second quarter (and of course, first half).

Here are some of the things that stood out to me about Saturday night's scoring outburst ... and yeah, the 66ers' eighth win of the season.

1. The shooting percentage. Tulsa hit 60.2 percent of its shots, including 56.5 percent from 3-point range. Cecil Brown, who led Tulsa with 24 points, hit 8 of his 11 shots and 4 of 5 from behind the arc.

Oh, and as a side note, Sioux Falls shot 50.6 percent from the field. It's not often you'll lose a game by 16 points when you make more than half of your shots.

2. Assists to turnovers. Head coach Nate Tibbetts pointed it out before I could ask him about it -- Tulsa point guards Mustafa Shakur and Zabian Dowdell combined for 16 points and just two turnovers. In all, Tulsa had 24 assists on the night, paced by Dowdell's 10.

Tibbetts told me after the game he liked how his team shared the ball on Saturday night, and it is a mark of this year's 66ers squads versus years past. This team plays as a team, and that was evident on Saturday night.

3. Balanced scoring for the 66ers. Seven of the nine 66ers players who saw game action on Saturday night finished in double figures. Larry Owens continues to impress, logging 20 points and nine rebounds on Saturday. There's something about Owens in recent games that seems to indicate he's ready to take the scoring role on his shoulders when needed.

One of the players who didn't finish in double figures was Latavious Williams, who is still learning how to play in the D-League. There's no question he has talent, but there's also no question that there's still a learning curve ahead of the 20-year-old. Williams and Sioux Falls center Keith Brumbaugh had a heated exchange toward the end of the game, and the flagrant foul called on Williams with 1:53 to play was part of the reason why he fouled out of the contest. It'll be interesting to see if there's any carryover between the two on Sunday afternoon.

4. The missing big men. Tulsa's Steven Hill and DeVon Hardin each missed the game with injury, and Greg Stiemsma of Sioux Falls also sat out with a foot injury. The missing big men forced Tulsa's D.J. White and Sioux Falls' Brumbaugh to man the middle, and both did a nice job. I was impressed with Brumbaugh, especially his touch from long range. He hit 4-of-6 from 3-point range and had 10 of his 30 points in the third quarter when the Skyforce narrowed Tulsa's lead to as little as five points.

White, assigned to Tulsa from Oklahoma City, had a quiet, productive game, totaling 17 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, including three on the offensive end. He was also 7-of-10 from the floor.

Tulsa and Sioux Falls meet again at 4 p.m. CT on Sunday.

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