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SB Mavericks dominate start to finish, beat #2-ranked Bowling Green 127-83

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

Saturday, January 10th

(Shreveport, LA.) – In what was billed as a battle of American Basketball Association titans Saturday night, the Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks proved once again that the rest of the league has a long way to go to catch up to the defending champs.

The Mavs started strong and went on to have their finest performance of the season, dominating all phases as they blasted the #2-ranked Bowling Green Bandits 127-83 before a raucous crowd at Hirsch Memorial Coliseum and a global audience on ESPN3.

The victory gives the Mavericks a perfect 16-0 record on the season, and was the 76th consecutive win for the franchise. The Mavs have also posted 80 straight wins at home, including a flawless 41-0 record at Hirsch.

Bowling Green (10-1) came in undefeated, led by Kevin Keathley, a former assistant to Shreveport-Bossier head coach Steve Tucker who just took over the team’s head coaching duties in December. The Bandits have averaged 120.5 points per game and had given up only 88.9 ppg prior to Saturday’s contest. Keathley had a personal 25-game ABA win streak snapped with the Bowling Green loss.

“We played at our pace, our brand and our rhythm,” said Tucker, who has now chalked up 602 career wins as a head coach and is just nine victories away from becoming the only coach in ABA history with 200 league triumphs. “Our tempo was conducive to playing good basketball and I thought we really got Bowling Green out of their rhythm. They’re going to be a better team when Coach Keathley has time to implement his system and get his type of players, but we did what we should have done, and I commend our players for getting the job done against a fine team.”

The Mavs jumped out to a 38-17 lead after one period, and the game was never in doubt from that point forth. Chris Hagan burst out of the gate to score 11 of his 17 points in that first quarter.

“I thought this was the most focused we’ve been coming into a game all season,” said Hagan, who added five assists and three steals to his stat line. “Everybody was ready from the opening tip, and we just wore them down.”

Hagan and fellow guard Tony Hooper led the Mavericks offense with familiar efficiency. Hooper finished with 16 points and a team-leading eight assists.

“We play off one another really well,” said Hagan. “We get into that ‘game within a game’ that helps us to motivate each other to play our best.”

The guards were only one dominant force for Shreveport-Bossier. Center Jon Rogers had one of his best of many great performances this season, posting a double-double of 15 points and a team-high 15 rebounds. Meanwhile, fellow frontcourt-mate Brandon Davis was a shot-blocking machine, swatting five Bandits’ shots away while scoring 10 points and grabbing seven boards.

“Playing with BD is a privilege,” said Rogers. “All of us big men play together as a unit, and when one does something, it inspires the others to step up.”

According to Tucker, the Rogers-Davis duo are the best in the ABA.

“I told Jon before the game that he was a real dangerous man, and then he went out on the court and proved it,” said Tucker. “Him and Davis are the two most dominant big men in our league, hands down.”

Seven Mavericks scored in double figures, led by top scorer P.J. Couisnard, who continued his red-hot shooting with 21 points. Joining Couisnard, Hagan, Hooper, Rogers and Davis with double-digit points were Josh Pace with 18, and Jermaine Blackburn with 12. Pace and Blackburn played under Keathley several years ago in the CBA.

“I thought the most exciting thing about the game was the way we played defensively as a team,” said Tucker. “We limited a very good offensive team to nearly 40 points under their average.

“We’re about halfway through this season, and on pace for what we want to achieve, but we still have a lot of ways to improve and get better.”

The Mavericks now hit the road to Texas to take on the Austin Boom next Sunday, January 18. The Mavs return home Saturday, January 24 when they will face the Mobile Bay Tornadoes. Shreveport-Bossier beat Mobile Bay on the road 118-87 November 16.

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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