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SB Mavericks keep rolling with 145-88 win over Texas RimRockers

By Kirk Copeland
(318) 525-8853 cell
kirk@abamavericks.com

Sunday, January 4th

(Shreveport, LA.) – One day after posting head coach Steve Tucker’s 600th career victory, the Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks were back to work Sunday, withstanding an early challenge from Texas before shifting into another gear in the second half and bouncing the RimRockers 145-88 at Hirsch Memorial Coliseum.

The win now puts the Mavs’ professional basketball record win streak at 75 games. Shreveport-Bossier (15-0) has also won 79 consecutive games at home, including a perfect 40-0 at Hirsch.

“It’s kind of hard to wrap your mind around (the streak and Tucker’s career win total),” said Mavericks swingman Josh Pace, who posted a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds in Sunday’s win. “For any team to have that kind of sustained success says a lot about the coach, the system, the organization, and the players. It’s fun to be part of.”

The Mavericks overcame some early sluggishness, but still maintained a comfortable halftime lead, keyed by the first-half performances of Pace and fellow veteran P.J. Couisnard. The duo combined for 27 points in the first two periods, with Couisnard notching 13 points in the first quarter alone. Couisnard finished with 15 points despite resting on the bench after halftime.

The second half was a completely different matter. Following its familiar formula of second-half dominance, Shreveport-Bossier outscored Texas (1-2) 39-11 in the third period, turning a competitive game into a runaway.

“We pulled out of our press (defense) and went to a half-court man,” said Tucker, who is now 10 wins away from 200 career victories in the ABA. “I learned a long time ago from a hall-of-fame coach that you can extend your defense. Their guards were playing really well in the first half, so we switched and shortened the floor on them. From that point forward, I thought we played great defense.”

Tucker singled out Couisnard, Pace, Mike Crain and Tony Hooper for their performances.

“I thought those veterans stepped up and played great for us, as they have all season,” said Tucker.

Seven Mavericks scored in double figures, led by point guard Chris Hagan’s 20 points. Hagan added five assists to lead the team.

“Hagan does so many different things for us,” said Tucker. “He’s having a great year all around.”

Jermaine Blackburn scored 13 points in the fourth quarter and finished with 17 overall to go with five rebounds and four assists. He also hit three long-range 3-pointers in the final period.

“I tip my hat to Coach T because he’s told me to shoot the ball when I’ve got the shot,” said Blackburn. “He wants me to be aggressive with my shot, and I hope I went out and made him proud today.”

Tucker echoed Blackburn’s assertion.

“I want him to be aggressive out there,” said Tucker. “He’s a first-team all-league player and helped us win a championship with the Mavericks. He’s another great player having a great year for us.”

Other notable Mavericks performances from Sunday’s game included Kenneth Cooper (16 points on 7-of-7 shooting, seven rebounds), Hooper (15 points, six rebounds, three assists), Crain (12 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals) and Brandon Davis (eight points, eight rebounds).

The top-ranked Mavericks welcome #2-ranked Bowling Green to town next Saturday, January 10, at 7 p.m. It will be the second #1 vs. #2 battle of the season for the Mavs, who prevailed over the Jacksonville Giants 113-96 on December 13 in the first such matchup. The game will be shown globally on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app for smartphones and mobile devices.

To add to the interest in Saturday’s contest, Bowling Green head coach Kevin Keathley was an assistant under Tucker when the Mavericks were located in Southeast Texas.

Tickets for 2014-15 Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks games are on sale now at www.sbmavs.com or at Hirsch Memorial Coliseum box office, which can be reached at (318) 631-4930.

The Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks and KSLA News 12 have partnered to give you the latest Mavs news and fun giveaways right on your smartphone. All you have to do is text “Mavericks” to 81212 to get involved

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