Photo by MattAzevedo.com
Raptors 905 (36-11) def. Erie Bayhawks (13-33); 97-92 | Box Score
Assignees: Bruno Caboclo (905).
Brady Heslip and John Jordan were the chief architects for the Raptors 905 in a steady performance that was enough to put away the Erie Bayhawks by a score of 97-92.
Heslip didn’t have the range tonight (just 2-for-10 from downtown), but still scored 24 points, while Jordan provided an excellent overall floor game with 12 points, six assists and four boards.
T.J. Price scored 26 to lead all scorers.
It looked like smooth sailing for the 905 when Jordan assisted Will Sheehey for a three-pointer to grow their lead to 70-55 with 2:33 to play in the third quarter, but the Bayhawks stormed back with an 18-3 run in the span of four minutes to tie the game.
After a bevy of blowouts, this served as a a good opportunity for the 905 to shake off some rust in a clutch situation.
The response was as good as can be expected, as Christian Watford, Axel Toupane, Will Sheehey, and Jordan all knocked down threes to put the 905 back in control at 87-81. The two teams traded buckets after that, before the 905 were challenged to make one final big play. With under a minute remaining and the good guys leading 92-89, Sheehey picked up the ball in his own backcourt after a deflection and stormed up the court with the clock winding down. The Bayhawks offered no resistance, and he found a cutting Antwaine Wiggins, who slammed the ball home for the final exclamation point.
Neither team could break away from each other till about halfway through the second quarter, when Jordan sparked a 9-2 run for the 905 to create some separation. He provided the outlet feed to Toupane for a transition layup, made a mid-range fadeaway, fed Yanick Moreira inside before he was fouled and made both free throws, and assisted CJ Leslie on a jumper to put the 905 up 38-29. Jordan then scored the final four points of the half as well, including a breakaway layup at the buzzer for a 49-39 halftime lead.
CJ Leslie put up another strong performance as well, tallying 16 points, 11 rebounds, and was a team high +15 on the night.
Toupane was forced to check out of the game after picking up his second personal foul just 1:43 into the game, but it was all about Brady Heslip and CJ Leslie in the first quarter. The duo combined for 22 of the 905’s 24 first quarter points to give the team a five-point lead heading into the second quarter. Heslip had 15, but not the usual way. He only made one 3-pointer in the first quarter, but mixed in some mid-range jumpers with four trips to the foul line. The 905 defence did its thing as well, limiting the Bayhawks to just six makes from their 19 field-goal attempts for the quarter.
With the win, the 905 have sealed home court advantage throughout the D-League playoffs, which means they will hoist the trophy at the Hershey Centre if they get that far. The format for the playoffs is such that the team with the weaker record hosts the first of a best-of-three, with the final two games on the better regular season team’s home floor. This win takes them to 19-4 on the road, while they have won 10 straight at home after starting out 7-7.
- Bruno Caboclo missed his second straight game, presumably with the shoulder issue that’s bothered him for the past couple of weeks.
- Antwaine Wiggins has made a habit of influencing the game quietly, but through important stretches, and collected seven points and six rebounds. He contributed a couple of important buckets early in the third quarter when the Bayhawks were trying make their way back, and of course provided the final nail in the coffin with a dunk that sealed the victory.
- Edy Tavares had nine points and eight rebounds, but struggled with the ball, coughing it up five times while also committing four fouls in 24 minutes. In fact, he and Toupane combined for nine of the team’s 18 turnovers, and were well below their usual all-star levels.
- The two teams will do it all over again tomorrow. Same bat time. Same bat channel.