Playing without Ray McCallum, the most recent player to get a Gatorade Call-Up to the NBA when he signed a 10-day contract with the Charlotte Hornets, the Grand Rapids Drive (15-16) continued their winning streak with a 114-107 win over the Canton Charge (16-13).
Kevin Murphy and Jordan Crawford each scored 28 points and Detroit Pistons rookie assignee Henry Ellenson busted out for the bronze, adding 17 points and 12 rebounds for Grand Rapids and coach Rex Walters. Michael Gbinije, another Pistons’ assignee, scored 14 points to help the cause. Darrun Hilliard, who had played with the Drive last week, returned to the Pistons lineup after two games.
After trailing by as many as 18 points early on, including 38-26 after the first quarter, the Drive fought their way back to within one at the half. Even while being out-rebounded on the offensive glass (21-9) and dishing out 12 less assists than Canton (28-16), the Drive watched the Charge miss 27 of 35 three-pointers and earned their third consecutive victory to kick off Super Bowl LI weekend.
For Canton, John Holland scored 28 points, Quinn Cook had 25 points and 11 assists, Chris Evans recorded 20 points and Roosevelt Jones, the former Butler Bulldog, finished with 13 points and 20 rebounds.
The Drive return home to the DeltaPlex Arena on Saturday for a matchup with the Raptors 905 squad they lost to at the D-League Showcase just a few weeks ago.