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905 snap losing streak with OT victory against Swarm

Raptors 905 head into All-Star weekend with a come-from-behind dub.

Omari Moore’s clutch execution down the stretch helped end the Raptors 905’s (6-14) six-game losing streak via a 102-100 win in overtime against the Greensboro Swarm (7-12) on Thursday morning.

For those who haven’t experienced an extra frame of hoops in the G League, they use Elam ending rules. Meaning, the game clock gets turned off, a target score is set, and whichever team reaches it first, gets the victory.

After regulation ended at 95-95, the target score was set at 102. Moore, who dropped 20 points in this one, scored five of the necessary seven points for a win, in overtime.

He first hit a spinning layup while getting fouled and drilled the ensuing free throw. A few possessions later the guard hit a back cut, freed up thanks to a strong Javon Freeman-Liberty screen, and ended the contest by dropping in a reverse layup.

905 head coach Eric Khoury credited the gravity of Freeman-Liberty – who stuffed the stat sheet with 28 points, six rebounds, seven assists, and four steals – for confusing the Swarm defence on the play.

“We had Javon setting a great back screen, he’s obviously the player they were keying in on the most and if you can use your best scores as a back screen, it can create some confusion,” said Khoury post-game. “Omari’s got so much speed and athleticism that we knew if he were to get a step on his guy, he’d be able to get downhill and finish.”

In front of a raucous school day crowd the G League squads were playing a neck-and-neck contest throughout the first three quarters, as the lead flipped multiple times while also staying within one possession.

The 905 played a relatively clean game but in the fourth quarter, things began slipping away from them as they committed seven of their 16 turnovers while also going on a three-minute scoring drought.

What that resulted in was a 10-point deficit for the 905 with less than six minutes to go in the final quarter.

However, the team showed a ton of poise as they clawed out of the hole. Freeman-Liberty got to the charity stripe a couple of times, Jaysean Paige hit a massive three, and Justise Winslow (who scored 19 points), executed a baseline ATO play to perfection, in the final seconds, and got a layup to fall that put the 905 back up front 94-93.

After some free throws were exchanged we hit overtime and that’s when Moore got to work and sent the 905 into the All-Star break with a victory.

“Javon set a really good screen and Mo(hamadou) G(ueye) made a great pass,” said Moore while reflecting on his game-winning basket. “It’s just how coach drew it up. I was the first option and it was open … so I was able to get downhill.”

Home crowd showed out

Paramount Fine Foods Centre was filled to the brim with children attending the game as part of a school trip, and they made their presence felt. From the opening tip to the waning moments of overtime, the atmosphere was electric and could put many NBA arenas to shame.

“They were awesome,” said Khoury. “When Jaysean hit that three near the end of regulation, I thought the roof was going to blow up, they were so loud.”

If you ask Winslow, he’d petition for every game to be on a school day.

“I loved it,” Winslow said. “I wanted more moments where I could pump them up … but honestly I think we have a pretty good record when the kids are in attendance, so I don’t know if I need to talk to the mayor here … just give me their number.”

Up next

The 905 like the rest of the league, will be off for a bit, as they won’t be back in action until Feb. 23 when they take on the Santa Cruz Warriors.

“It’s (been) a lot of losing,” Khoury said on what the victory meant going into the break. “I do my best to put the losses aside and grow, but when you lose, you think about it until the next game … there’s still a ton to learn, but it makes the week off a little more enjoyable.”