Saturday, January 16, 2010

A pretty simple formula equals a Tulsa loss

When the ball doesn't go in the hole, you're not going to win a lot of games. For Tulsa, Saturday night was the first time in eight games that the 66ers hadn't hit 50 percent or better from the field. It was an uphill battle from the start as Tulsa missed 16 of its first 22 shots. The end result? A 97-91 victory by visiting Erie.

Tulsa finished hitting just 40.8 percent from the field ... but that's a marked improvement in the second half from the 30 percent the 66ers were shooting at intermission.

Let's face it ... teams have games when they're going to shoot poorly, and this was one of those for the 66ers. It happens. It's a fact of basketball that it will happen. However, don't overlook the early injury to Cecil Brown as a big factor in Tulsa's shooting woes. Brown, who Tulsa head coach Nate Tibbetts says always hits a big shot in every game, appeared to pull his groin less than four minutes into the game and never returned. He didn't score in the contest, and his 13.5 points per contest were sorely missed by Tulsa on Saturday night.

Despite the cold shooting night, Tulsa battled back from a 14-point deficit to take an 87-86 lead on Deron Washington’s follow dunk with 3:35 to play. Erie, however, would finish the game on an 11-4 run, including hitting five of six free throws in the game’s final minute, to ice the victory.

"I can't fault our effort, especially in the second half," Tibbetts told me after the game. "We gave ourselves a chance, but we didn’t make the plays that we needed to make if we were going to win the game."

Basketball memories in the D-League are very shortlived with back-to-back scheduling. Tulsa will need to erase Saturday night quickly if they're going to earn a split with a streaking Erie team that has won five of their last six games.

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