Ellenson, Drive rally to beat Knicks and win second straight

The Grand Rapids Drive (10-10) rallied from an eight-point deficit going into the fourth quarter to defeat the Westchester Knicks (10-8) at home on Wednesday night. They outscored the Knicks 33-22 in the fourth and came away with a 111-108 victory. 

After losing three games in a row before Friday’s win against Greensboro, the Drive have now won two in a row before their upcoming seven-game road trip.

Four players recorded at least 19 points for the Drive. Henry Ellenson led the way on assignment from the Detroit Pistons with 23 points and 10 rebounds, Ray McCallum had 19 with nine rebounds and 10 assists, Kevin Murphy also scored 19 points and Jordan Crawford was another player with 19, his coming off the bench.

Chris Horton was also a huge factor off the bench for the second consecutive game, scoring 11 points with 11 rebounds, eight of those coming at the offensive end. The eight offensive rebounds were a season-high for an individual Drive player.

Maurice Ndour was incredible playing on assignment from the New York Knicks for Westchester, especially before halftime. He had 22 points at the half and finished with 26 on 9-of-15 shooting. Jaylen Bond piled up 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench and Courtney Fells and Damien Inglis also had 14 points each.

The score was tightly contested for the majority of the game. The lead changed hands 10 times in the span of the first half until the Knicks were able to pull ahead and gain an eight-point halftime advantage, 56-48.

Both teams scored 30 points in the third quarter, but the Drive started to chip away at the lead in the fourth. Two three-pointers by Murphy brought Grand Rapids within two, but Von Wafer was able to answer with a jumper each time. But the Knicks’ constant answers began to wear out, and the Drive eventually went on a 6-0 run to tie the game at 96, and then scored six more unanswered after that.

The Knicks rallied back with five points in a row to bring the deficit back to one, but it was all Drive from there and they secured the win. Two overturned calls that went in Grand Rapids’ favor were key to the end of the game.

The Drive uncharacteristically had trouble with coughing up the basketball. They had 15 turnovers at halftime, already above their season average of 13.5. They finished with 23 turnovers but shot 40 percent from three and 77 percent from the line on 31 attempts to make up for it. The Drive also won the rebounding battle 55-44, a rarity for this roster. The Knicks were much less efficient but turned the ball over just 12 times.

For the teams’ next action, Grand Rapids begins their seven-game road stretch on the West coast on Jan. 6 against the Santa Cruz Warriors, while the Knicks will take on Windy City in Chicago the same day.