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SB Mavericks survive tough road test against #3-ranked Bowling Green

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

Sunday, February 15th

(Bowling Green, KY.) – Despite being held to their lowest point total of the season, the top-ranked and defending ABA champion Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks survived their toughest test of the season so far Sunday evening, holding off the #3-ranked Bowling Green Bandits 98-89 before a large, raucous crowd at Diddle Arena in Bowling Green.

With the victory, the Mavericks (23-0) clinch the ABA’s Gulf Coast Division title, the fifth division crown the franchise has won. Shreveport-Bossier has now won a professional basketball record 83 straight games, and are 57-0 since moving from Southeast Texas in 2013. The last road loss for the Mavs came on December 19, 2010.

“The victory tonight was a big road win for our team,” said Shreveport-Bossier head coach Steve Tucker, who is now just one win away from 200 in his ABA career. “It was a great team win. So many players contributed. I am very proud we found a way to win.”

This was a different type of win than the Mavs are accustomed to, however. The Mavericks, by assistant coach Sarah Gayler’s assessment, were not on their usual, crisp game.

“We couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn, throw it in the ocean, whatever cliché you want to use,” said Gayler. “We just weren’t ourselves, and Bowling Green had a lot to do with that. We couldn’t get into our transition game, couldn’t find shots. They (the Bandits) did a good job of getting back on transition and packing inside so we had to work harder with our big men.”

The Mavericks held a 47-32 lead at halftime, and held double-digit leads throughout the game. With about two minutes to play, however, the Bandits (15-3) went on an 8-0 run to cut the lead, but Shreveport-Bossier’s size inside prevailed down the stretch. The Mavs’ version of the Twin Towers – center Jon Rogers and power forward Brandon Davis, both having spectacular seasons – controlled the paint in the second half to help the Mavs earn the win. Rogers finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Davis had a game-high 13 rebounds and blocked three shots.

Point guard Anthony Jackson had his third big game in a row, leading all scorers with 20 points as five Mavs scored in double figures. Swingman and MVP candidate Josh Pace – the Mavericks’ “silent assassin” – continued his court supremacy, firing in 18 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Guard Tony Hooper scored 14 points and led the Mavs with four assists, while forward Jermaine Blackburn checked in with 10 points.

“We just needed to ride this one out and find a way to win with all the chaos that comes with a road trip,” said Gayler. “We knew that Coach (Kevin) Keathley (Bowling Green’s head coach; a Tucker protégé) really wanted to win this one bad, and they pulled out all the stops. It’s good to head back home with a tough win like this one under our belt.”

The Mavericks return to the friendly confines of Hirsch Memorial Coliseum next weekend for games against the Metroplex Lightning and the DFW Stars. Saturday’s game against the Lightning has a game time of 7 p.m., while Sunday’s contest with the Stars is slated for a 4 p.m. afternoon tip-off time. Shreveport-Bossier boasts a perfect 45-0 record all-time at Hirsch, and has won 84-straight home games dating back to 2011.

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.

Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks Basketball

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