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WIthout Adonis Thomas, but with Devin Ebanks, Springfield Armor lose in L.A.


Adonis Thomas signed a 10-day contract with the Magic Tuesday, depriving the Armor of one-half of its recent 1-2 scoring punch.  Thomas averaged 16.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in 26 games (21 starts) for Springfield and over the last 10, the 20-year-old averaged better than 20 and shot better than 45 percent from deep.

And on Monday night in L.A., he was missed as a three-game West Coast swing finished with a loss as the Armor (13-21) saw a halftime edge dwindle away for the first time on the road this season in a 134-128 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles D-Fenders (20-13) inside Toyota Sports Center.

The Armor did have Darius Johnson-Odom and Devin Ebanks both former Lakers and D-Fenders, but in the end, L.A. outlasted Springfield.

Springfield’s big men flourished in the first half as the trio of Jeff Foote, Willie Reed and Ebanks, the D-League's top forward prospect acquired last week, all reached double figure scoring totals before the break. Foote’s team-high 13 first-half points helped the Armor hold a 34-26 edge in the paint, while Reed and Ebanks added 10 each.

The Armor’s lead reached as high as 12, but Los Angeles closed the gap to just four before intermission as Brandon Costner hit all three three-point attempts and went 7-for-7 from the charity stripe for a game-high 18 points off the bench. LA was also out and running as a 14-6 advantage in fast break points closed Springfield’s cushion to just 67-63 following the first 24 minutes.

After 38 points in the second quarter, the D-Fenders continued on their torrid pace with 39 more points in the third as Los Angeles clawed back from an 11-point deficit in the period to grab a 102-96 lead entering the final frame. Darius Johnson-Odom scored 14 by himself in the stanza, but Springfield faced a six-point hole as the D-Fenders connected on all eight free throws to take advantage of six Armor personal fouls.

The Armor used a 6-0 run early in the fourth to square the game at 108 apiece which set the stage for tight-knit finish. The two teams went basket-for-basket down the final stretch as neither squad was able to build more than a four-point advantage until the final minute. With Springfield trailing 125-124 and 1:17 to play, Los Angeles’ Terrence Williams drilled a clutch trey to give the D-Fenders a four-point cushion. That bucket set off a 7-0 run as LA used four straight fast break points to build its lead to eight with just 26 seconds remaining.

The Armor attempted to extend the game, but the D-Fenders’ foul shooting was nearly impeccable as the home team finished 32-of-38 from the line to hold on for the 134-128 victory, snapping Springfield’s two-game winning streak and dropping the Armor to 6-1 when leading at halftime on the road.

Johnson-Odom led the Armor offense with 23 points on the night, while Reed logged his second straight 20-point performance to go along with a game-high 13 rebounds. Foote also registered a double-double with 19 points and 11 boards, but was held to just six second-half points following a dominant first half.

LA’s top prospect Manny Harris turned in 30 points, but Costner’s 22 off the bench, including  a 9-of-10 effort from the line, coupled with Williams’ 23, with the help of four treys, highlighted the D-Fenders’ offensive approach.

Springfield will now return home to open a four-game, five-day homestand beginning Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. against the Austin Toros.