BOISE, Idaho (Feb. 19, 2016) — Devin Ebanks was clutch when his team needed him most.
The Grand Rapids Drive forward drained a 3-pointer with the shot clock expiring with 2 minutes to go in the game and Grand Rapids held on to beat the Idaho Stampede 99-96 at the CenturyLink Arena in front of 2,797 fans on Friday night.
Grand Rapids, the affiliate of the Detroit Pistons, snaps a two-game losing streak and improves to 16-16.
Ebanks, who finished with a game-high 32 points, had a sheepish smile after draining the eventual game-winner.
“You can see Dean Cooper smack his hands together (in frustration),” Stampede TV announcer Mark Snider said of the Idaho coach. “That could be the killer (shot) with two minutes to go in the game.”
Idaho center Tibor Pleiss dunked off an in-bounds play with 7.1 seconds left in the game to cut the lead to 97-96. But Gary Talton drained two free-throws for the Drive to seal it.
Ebanks, a 6-foot-9 forward out of West Virginia, was 11-of-19 from the field and also had 8 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assists. Talton had a season-high 23 points and six assists for the Drive. He was followed by Kam Holsey with 15 points and six rebounds and Kelsey Barlow with 13.
The Stampede scored seven-straight times in the third quarter and Barlow had seen enough. With Grand Rapids trailing by four points late in the quarter – 73-69 – the Drive guard scored the next 10 points. He drained a jumper and then hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give his team the lead.
Dahntay Jones had a nice no-look pass to Holsey, who was driving to the lane and dunked it with authority to give the Drive an 83-81 lead in the fourth quarter.
Barlow drained a 3-pointer to cap a 22-7 run by the Drive in the first half. Ebanks had 17 points at the break as Grand Rapids led 52-44. The 44 points are the second fewest the team has allowed in a half this season. Jeremy Williams hit a 3-pointer early in the game and then Idaho proceeded to miss its next 15 threes in a row.
J.J. O’Brien led Idaho (13-23) with 20 points. Former Drive guard Brandon Fields had 10 points and four assists. Fields averaged 14.1 points in 32 games with Grand Rapids last season, his first in the D-League.
Grand Rapids returns home Monday to play the Maine Red Claws for a 7 p.m. contest at the DeltaPlex Arena.