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Darius Johnson-Odom goes for 34 in D-League battle with Knicks affiliate

Chris Marion Photography

Darius Johnson-Odom continued his high scoring ways and Adonis Thomas got back on track after two mediocre outings and the Armor defeated the Knicks affiliate, the Erie Bayhawks, 115-105 in front of a season-high home crowd of 4,548 Friday. The victory was Springfield's seventh in 24 games. The D-League reaches its midway point on Saturday night and Milton Lee, Doug Overton et al hope the team's improving play, plus the addition of Sundiata Gaines, will help them make a playoff push.

Johnson-Odom, the former Laker who the Nets hope will play for them in summer league, scored 34 points and is now averaging 22.2 points. Johnson-Odom, a 6'3" guard out of Marquette, shot 14-of-25, including 3-of-6 from deep. He had five rebounds and five assists. In the 11 games he's played in Springfield, DJO is shooting 48.4 percent overall and an even 40 percent from three point range.

Thomas, at 20 one of the D-League's youngest players, connected for 21, shooting 9-of-17 overall, missing two three's. He played all but one minute in the close game.  Dennis Horner, the former New Jersey Net, continued his string of double-doubles, with 18 and 11. It was the third straight double-double for the 6'9" Horner, who's averaging 22 and 11 while shooting 62.5 percent from the field, including 42.9 percent from deep.

Willie Reed, who returned to action after the birth of his son, Nathaniel, finished with eight and eight ...and  maybe a lot of cigars.

Springfield’s offense caught fire out of the gates, connecting its first five shots from the field as the Armor built an early 10-2 lead. By the end of the opening frame, Johnson-Odom had surpassed the double figure threshold with 10 points as the Armor pushed their lead as high as 17 before taking a 34-21 edge into the second quarter.

The home team offense went cold for more than two minutes to begin the second, while Erie heated up from beyond the arc as a pair of treys lifted the BayHawks within one at 36-35. Springfield continued to hold the lead, never relinquishing its advantage in the first half, but Micah Downs and C.J. Leslie each scored 11 points off the bench to help the BayHawks close the gap to 54-51 entering the locker room at halftime.

After a scorching 68.2 percent shooting effort in the first quarter, the Armor ended the half at 51.2 percent from the field, going 7-for-21 in the second. The BayHawks connected on 11-of-21 shots and outrebounded Springfield 13-12 in the second quarter to trim the Armor lead down to just three.

Erie continued to battle back, eventually overtaking the Armor in the third quarter as the two teams traded leads six times which left Springfield in front 82-81 entering the fourth. Johnson-Odom tallied 12 points in the third, but the BayHawks outscored the Armor 30-28 in the frame.

With just a one-point lead to begin the final 12 minutes, the Armor used 12 more points from Johnson-Odom in the fourth as Springfield outscored the BayHawks 33-24 in the final frame, earning the 115-105 victory. Erie kept within single digits throughout most of the fourth, but were unable to draw even. Springfield’s win snapped a three-game losing skid and was the first over the BayHawks in three attempts this season.

Downs paced the Erie offense with 26 points off the bench, combining with Leslie to total 54 points between the two. Knicks assignee Toure’ Murry finished with 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting, one of two Erie starters in double digits (Scott Suggs, 15).

The Armor will hit the road for a Saturday showdown in Delaware tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. before returning to face the Erie BayHawks for the second time in four days Monday night at 7:00 p.m. inside the MassMutual Center.

In other D-League action Friday night, Terrence Williams, another former New Jersey Nets, scored 50 for the L.A. D-Fenders, the Lakers' affiliate.