The Salt Lake City Stars (6-15) jumped out to a 35-17 lead after the first quarter and did not look back on Wednesday night, defeating the Grand Rapids Drive (11-13) by a 129-94 final. They never trailed in the contest, as the Drive surrendered a season-high in points while dropping their third straight game.
Marcus Paige paced a diverse scoring attack for Salt Lake City with 22 points and five rebounds. Seven Stars ended the game in double figures, including Alec Burks and Raul Neto, who were there on assignment from the Utah Jazz.
Neto had 14 points, nine rebounds and 12 assists to barely miss a triple-double while Burks chipped in 13 points of his own. Tyrone Wallace and Jermaine Taylor combined for 33 points off the bench, outscoring the Drive bench with just the two of them.
Trey Freeman was a bright spot for the Drive. Coming into the game averaging 4.5 points in 23.2minutes per game, Freeman scored a season-high 22 points, going 4-of-6 from three-point range. Kevin Murphy added 19 points.
Another key to the big win for the Stars was limiting Ray McCallum, who earlier in the day was ranked by Prospect Watch as the #1 prospect in the D-League eligible for a call-up. McCallum scored 16 points on 5-of-15 shooting from the field. Jordan Crawford, another top-10 prospect on the Drive, did not play in the contest.
Salt Lake City held the Drive to 40 percent from the field, out-rebounded them 53-39 and largely got whatever they wanted in the paint, sitting at 23-of-35 from inside after three quarters. The Drive’s 17 points in the first quarter were a new season low, and they were not able to bounce back as they also allowed a season-high 69 points in the second half.
Now the winners of two in a row, the Stars will look to keep the positive momentum going when they take on the Santa Cruz Warriors on the road on Jan. 13. Grand Rapids will look to regroup as they face another team in its inaugural season, the Northern Arizona Suns, on the road on Jan. 14. It will be the Drive’s last game before the D-League showcase which begins in Mississauga, Ontario on Dec. 18.