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Tucker captures 200th career ABA victory as SB Mavs rout Metroplex 164-71

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

Saturday, February 21st

(Shreveport, LA.) – Head coach Steve Tucker notched his 200th career win in the American Basketball Association when his top-ranked and defending champion Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks dominated the Metroplex Lightning 164-71 Saturday night at Hirsch Memorial Coliseum.

The victory adds to Tucker’s ABA record for coaching victories, and gives him 610 wins as a head coach in his 35-year career. Shreveport-Bossier (24-0) has now won a professional basketball record 84 consecutive games and 85 straight home games. The Mavericks are 58-0 since moving to Shreveport-Bossier in 2013 and sport a perfect 46-0 record at Hirsch Memorial Coliseum. The Mavs’ last loss came on December 19, 2010.

“This was a great team win,” said Tucker. “Winning 200 in this league means a lot to me, but to win it and for us to play the way we did tonight is very special. We played the way I’ve always taught our players to play the game.”

To call this a “great team win” may have been an understatement. Nine different Mavericks scored in double figures, and Shreveport-Bossier outrebounded the Lightning 73-33. The Mavs shot 57.4% from the field while holding Metroplex to 31.0%. The Mavericks also got a nearly unheard of 114 bench points.

“Our big men – Jon Rogers, Brandon Davis, Chad Eichelberger, Kenneth Cooper, and Alex Sanders – are playing so well right now that they are dominating games. Rogers and Davis are our Twin Towers, and they’ve earned that nickname. They are taking over games and completely shutting down our opponents’ inside games. We have gained an identity as a power team, a post-oriented team, and these guys are the reason. We are no longer a perimeter-oriented team.”

Cooper and Eichelberger took over in the second and third periods, and both went on to post double-doubles. Cooper led all scorers with 20 points and hauled in 11 rebounds, while Eichelberger – who Tucker says is playing his best basketball since joining the team – scored 17 points and had a game-high 12 rebounds.

“I’m just going out there and working hard, and that’s starting to show up in the stats,” said Eichelberger, who stepped out to hit 3-of-4 3-pointers in addition to his inside prowess. “Honestly, I don’t care if I get two points or 20 points as long as we win. I’m out there to do the little things that don’t show up in stats to help us win games.”

While Eichelberger was scoring from all over the floor, Cooper was filling up a highlight reel with spectacular dunk after spectacular dunk. The 6-foot-10 center from Monroe collected five dunks, each seeming to be more jaw-dropping than the last.

“I’m feeling good about my game lately, but I know there’s still a lot of work to get to where I want to be,” said Cooper. “I just try to do what Coach T teaches us, and that’s paying off for me. I’m getting good minutes because of it.”

Tucker sees even more potential in his young center.

“When Coop realizes how good he really is, when he’s taking advantage of the power that he has and doing the things he’s capable of, he’s a real, real good player,” said Tucker.

Other notable performances in the win Saturday were Currye Todd with 18 points and six rebounds; Jermaine Blackburn, who stepped into a starting role and responded with 17 points and four rebounds; Mike Crain and Sanders with 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting each; Rogers with 15 points and six rebounds; newcomer Jonathan Phelps with 14 points in his first action with the team; and “The Silent Assassin” Josh Pace, with 10 points, five rebounds and three assists in limited playing time. Davis grabbed seven rebounds and Anthony Jackson led the team with seven assists coming off the bench. Shreveport-native and former Booker T. Washington High star Tyrone Hamilton played his best game since joining the Mavs last month, scoring six points with six rebounds and five assists.

“Coach T is a great coach, not just in this league, but in any league there is,” said Cooper. “He doesn’t get the recognition he deserves as one of the greatest coaches at any level in the world. It’s a privilege to play for him, and I’m glad we went out and got this win to give him that 200-win milestone.”

The Mavericks return to the court Sunday at 4 p.m. when they will host the DFW Stars at Hirsch Memorial Coliseum. All general admission tickets are free when picked up at least one hour prior to tip-off, and, as always, tickets are half price if you bring in your church bulletin.

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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