“I’m very happy we won the game as we did not play the typical Toros game,” Toros coach Brad Jones said.
The Toros (10-3) provided another win at home for their fans as they beat the Maine Red Claws (4-11) on Thursday night. Currently sitting on top of the league standings, it was the team’s fifth win in a row.
Consistency at the line (24-28) was key in the 109-103 victory.
Both teams exchanged the lead 15 times throughout the night. The Red Claws gained their largest lead of the night after a 12-1 run to start the second quarter. A pair of Terrance Woodbury jumpers cut the lead and gave the Toros the confidence boost they needed. By halftime the Toros had regained the lead, 54-51.
“There were a lot of times tonight where we couldn’t get to the right spot whether it was offensively or defensively.”
The teams kept it close in the second half with the Toros holding the lead the entire half. Austin’s nine point lead dwindled in the fourth quarter. The lack of Toros defense made it a one possession game multiple times in the final minutes of the game. Lance Thomas’ dunk with 46 seconds remaining sealed the win.
Thomas, who was recently cut from the New Orleans Hornets, hadn’t played under Jones for close to a month. It was hardly noticeable as Thomas added 18 points (7-8) and regained his starting spot on the roster. The return of Thomas marks four Toros players that have returned in the past few weeks from NBA training camp. The only one remaining in the NBA is long-shot Squeaky Johnson (Hornets).
Thursday night was supposed to be about the addition of the youngest and highest paid guy on the team, Cory Joseph. The 2011 first round NBA draft pick was assigned by the Spurs earlier this week.
“Cory had some good moments tonight; had some bad moments tonight,” said Jones. “He should be a sophomore in college and he hasn’t played much pro basketball.”
Joseph got off to a slow start, adding only one point in the first half. As the game progressed the starter found his rhythm at the charity stripe adding 7 of his 11 points.
It’s likely that the former Longhorn will remain a Toro for the next few weeks as he could benefit from playing time as well as further development of the Spurs system.
Justin Dentmon led the team with 24 points and four assist. Eric Dawson was the only player to record a double-double (12 pts, 10 rebs). Leo Lyons led the bench with 15 points.
The Toros play host to the Texas Legends tonight at the Cedar Park Center.