Adonis Thomas is on his way to Orlando to sign a 10-day, his days as a Nets project over, at least for now. Devin Ebanks, acquired in a trade Friday, has yet to arrive, but the Armor won again Friday night with Willie Reed and Khalif Wyatt playing their best D-League games. Springfield beat the Santa Cruz Warriors, 97-80, just down the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco where the Nets are staying.
Reed, the athletic 6'10" 23-year-old who has to be a candidate for the Nets 13th man, finished with 20 points and 20 rebounds, the second 20-20 game of his career. Reed, known for his #CallWillieUp hashtag, was 9-of-19. His rebound total was divided equally between offensive and defensive boards.
But Wyatt electrified the crowd, scoring 23 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, including five three-pointers as the Armor won their seventh game out of the last 10. The Armor are now 13-20 under head coach Doug Overton and GM Milton Lee, who's restocked the team over the past three weeks. Darius Johnson-Odom, another of the D-League's top prospects, finished with 16.
It was the second straight game the Armor defense held the Warriors to 80 points, a rarity in the D-League.
The Santa Cruz offense relied on Seth Curry in the early going as the Duke product accounted for the first seven Warrior points, but the Armor defense was in full force, holding the Warriors to just 16 first-quarter points to take a 23-16 edge into the second.
After falling into a one-point deficit following a 14-6 Santa Cruz run, Springfield closed out the half by outscoring the Warriors 13-10 for a 42-40 advantage at intermission. Johnson-Odom led the Armor offense with 11 points, while Reed pulled down 11 boards to go along with eight first-half points.
Curry continued to lead the home team with 12 points at the break, but the Warriors’ shooting struggles continued as the team shot just 31 percent from the floor in the first half, following a 35 percent performance from the field last night.
The third quarter belonged to Santa Cruz’s Daniel Nwaelele as the former Air Force guard posted nine points on 4-of-4 shooting in the frame to help the Warriors grab a 67-65 lead entering the fourth quarter. Reed added 10 points in the third to eclipse double-double numbers before the final period, but six free throws by the Warriors helped put the Armor in a two-point hole with 12 minutes to play.
The Armor had yet to win a game when entering the fourth quarter behind on the scoreboard. That was until Wyatt got his hands on the ball. The former Temple Owl, acquired via trade with Reno earlier in the week, dropped 23 points in the stanza to lead the Springfield comeback. The Armor went on to outscore Santa Cruz 32-13 in the frame to complete the two-game sweep with a 97-80 victory.
Curry’s 21 points led the Warriors, but Santa Cruz combined to shoot 34.5 percent from the floor and just 20.0 percent from long range (5-of-25).
The Armor will wrap up their Pacific Rim stint with a 10:00 p.m. EST tip against former head coach Bob MacKinnon and the Los Angeles D-Fenders on Monday in L.A.
- Game Info: Armor at Warriors - D-League
D-League Basketball: Santa Cruz Warriors can't penetrate Armor in 97-80 loss - Embele Awipi - Santa Cruz Sentinel