SMITH 45 PTS; 87ERS TWO GAMES BACK OF PLAYOFF BIRTH


87ers Top Swarm To Keep Playoff Hopes Alive

NEWARK, Del. — The Delaware 87ers (26-22) topped the Greensboro Swarm (18-31) 123-114 in a must-win game that keeps the 87ers playoff hopes alive. Russ Smith led the way with a season-high 43 points as the Sevens topped the Swarm for the third time in four meetings this season.The game began as a battle of starting point guards, with Delaware’s Russ Smith and Greensboro’s Cat Barber trading blows in the early part of the first. Smith put up 10 of the Sevens’ first 12 points, while former 87er Barber scored 11 of the Swarm’s first 13 points. The first quarter stayed close and became a high-scoring affair, ending with the 87ers holding a 36-30 lead.

NBA D-LEAGUE BASKETBALL 2017 - MAR 29 - Delaware 87ers defeated Greensboro Swarm 123-114

Delaware 87ers Guard RUSS SMITH (0) dribbles the ball down the floor in the first half of an NBA D-league regular season game between the Delaware 87ers and the Greensboro Swarm (Charlotte Hornets) Wednesday, March 29, 2017, at The Bob Carpenter Sports Convocation Center in Newark, DEL. Photo By Saquan Stimpson

The Sevens controlled the beginning of the second quarter, leaping out to a 41-32 lead before allowing an 8-0 run from the Swarm. The game was tied at 47 at the midway point of the second, but Delaware outscored Greensboro 18-8 the rest of the frame to take a 65-55 lead into the locker room. Russ Smith had 25 at halftime to lead all scorers.

It didn’t take long for Russ Smith to reach the 30-point plateau. He scored the Sevens’ first five points of the third quarter within a minute to hit the mark. Delaware maintained its lead throughout the period, but Greensboro cut into their deficit by three across the third to make the score heading into the final quarter 91-84 in favor of Delaware.

NBA D-LEAGUE BASKETBALL 2017 - MAR 29 - Delaware 87ers defeated Greensboro Swarm 123-114

Greensboro Swarm Guard Cat Barber (7) drives to the basket for the easy lay-up in the second half of an NBA D-league regular season game between the Delaware 87ers and the Greensboro Swarm (Charlotte Hornets) Wednesday, March 29, 2017, at The Bob Carpenter Sports Convocation Center in Newark, DEL. Photo By Saquan Stimpson

Greensboro scored the fourth’s first basket to bring them to within five points, but the 87ers responded with a 10-0 run to give themselves a bit of a cushion. Though the Swarm continued to make things interesting, Delaware kept them at bay. When the score was 102-95, Russ Smith ripped off eight unanswered to give the Sevens a 15-point lead. Greensboro proved a tough out, but Devondrick Walker’s three-ball with 18.8 seconds left iced the affair and gave Delaware a 123-114 win.

NBA D-LEAGUE BASKETBALL 2017 - MAR 29 - Delaware 87ers defeated Greensboro Swarm 123-114

Delaware 87ers Guard RUSS SMITH (0) drives towards the basket as Greensboro Swarm Guard Rasheed Sulaimon (0) defends in the first half of an NBA D-league regular season game between the Delaware 87ers and the Greensboro Swarm (Charlotte Hornets) Wednesday, March 29, 2017, at The Bob Carpenter Sports Convocation Center in Newark, DEL Photo By Saquan Stimpson

The 87ers had five players finish in double figures. Russ Smith (43), Shane Edwards (18), Walker (13), Roscoe Smith (12) and Terrence Jennings (11) made up the group. Barber had 23 for Greensboro, which was led in scoring by former Kansas standout Perry Ellis, who dropped 25.

NBA D-LEAGUE BASKETBALL 2017 - MAR 29 - Delaware 87ers defeated Greensboro Swarm 123-114

Greensboro Swarm Forward Perry Ellis (34) drives to the basket in the first half of an NBA D-league regular season game between the Delaware 87ers and the Greensboro Swarm (Charlotte Hornets) Wednesday, March 29, 2017, at The Bob Carpenter Sports Convocation Center in Newark, DEL. Photo By Saquan Stimpson

Though the Sevens are alive in the playoff race, they have zero margin for error. They are two games back of the final playoff spot and must win their next two games and have fourth-place Maine lose its final two contests. The 87ers hold the tiebreakers with the Red Claws, who have lost three straight and finish the year with a road back-to-back.

NBA D-LEAGUE BASKETBALL 2017 – JAN 30 – Grand Rapids Drive defeats Delaware 87ers 116-105


NEWARK, DE – The Delaware 87ers (15-13) dropped their third straight game and second to the Grand Rapids Drive (13-16) this season. The final score was 116-105 in favor of the Drive, which knotted the season series at two games apiece. This was the final meeting of the year between the two teams.
Shawn Long and James Webb III led the way for Delaware, with both notching double-doubles. Long finished with 31 points and 13 rebounds, his 12th double-double in the past 14 games. Webb III’s 13 and 12 gave him five-straight double-doubles.
Russ Smith got the start, his first of this season for the Sevens. He had just three points, but did dish out 10 assists in 33 minutes.
NBA D-LEAGUE BASKETBALL 2017 - JAN 30 - Grand Rapids Drive defeats Delaware 87ers 116-105

Grand Rapids Drive Guard JORDAN CRAWFORD (15) attempts a Three-point field goal as Delaware 87ers Forward JAMES WEBB III (3) defends in the second half of a NBA D-league regular season game between the Delaware 87ers and the Grand Rapids Drive (Detroit Pistons) Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, at The Bob Carpenter Sports Convocation Center in Newark, DEL

“I thought he did a great job of moving the basketball,” said Head Coach Eugene Burroughs. “For us, that’s a plus to have a guy with his ability to get guys shots.”
The two teams kept it close throughout the first three quarters. The Drive led by seven after one period and just one at halftime. The 87ers won a high-scoring third frame 34-32 to take an 84-83 lead into the fourth. Delaware kept pace with the Drive despite shooting just 6-33 from three-point land.
“I gave those guys the confidence to shoot the basketball,” Burroughs said. “We’re a pretty high-percentage three-point team. The first half, I felt like if we had gotten those same shots in the second half, we’d be in great shape. I think we got some of those looks but we just didn’t make them tonight.”
The game remained close through the midway point of the fourth quarter. From there, the wheels came off. Both teams played sloppily late, but Grand Rapids capitalized on Delaware’s miscues, while the 87ers could not return the favor.
NBA D-LEAGUE BASKETBALL 2017 - JAN 30 - Grand Rapids Drive defeats Delaware 87ers 116-105

Grand Rapids Drive Forward RAMON HARRIS (3) attempts a Three-point field goal as Delaware 87ers Guard MIKH MCKINNEY (10) defends in the second half of a NBA D-league regular season game between the Delaware 87ers and the Grand Rapids Drive (Detroit Pistons) Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, at The Bob Carpenter Sports Convocation Center in Newark, DEL

“I think sometimes you have to play through that,” Burroughs said. “You always have spurts in games where it gets a little hectic, but sometimes I look at those opportunities as ways to get easy buckets.
“It helps us push the tempo a little bit. Unfortunately for us, I think we looked a little gassed as the game went on. We were down a body, which obviously plays a role in a game like that. But, we also have to just find a way to defend at a high level, and I don’t think we did that tonight.”
Delaware, playing without Cat Barber for the fifth-straight game, allowed 65 second-half points and lost the final period 33-21. Barber was sidelined with an ankle injury.
The Drive had a monster game from downtown. Grand Rapids went 18-34 from distance, good for 53 percent. Five different players had multiple three-pointers and the team knocked down timely threes late in the game.
NBA D-LEAGUE BASKETBALL 2017 - JAN 30 - Grand Rapids Drive defeats Delaware 87ers 116-105

Grand Rapids Drive Guard JORDAN CRAWFORD (15) dribbles pass Delaware 87ers Forward CARLOS LOPEZ-SOSA (4) in the second half of a NBA D-league regular season game between the Delaware 87ers and the Grand Rapids Drive (Detroit Pistons) Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, at The Bob Carpenter Sports Convocation Center in Newark, DEL

“They made shots. Having the extra bodies helped,” Burroughs said. “They had three assignment guys that, you know, aren’t playing at the NBA level so they come in and give you a little injection of life and energy, and it made a difference tonight.”
Those assignment players were Henry Ellenson, Michael Gbinije and Darrun Hilliard. Ellenson and Gbinije were drafted by the Detriot Pistons, the Drive’s parent club, in the 2016 draft. Hilliard was selected in the second round of the 2015 draft after a standout four-year career at Villanova. All three players finished in double figures,and seven Grand Rapids players in total had more than 10 points.
Delaware had five players cross the 10-point threshold. Dionte Christmas had 19, Devondrick Walker racked up 15 and Brandon Triche finished with 13 off the bench.
Next up, the 87ers hit the road to take on the Maine Red Claws on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. ET.
By Varun Raghupathi, 24/Sevens Insider

Guess who’s back!!!! SEVENS REACQUIRE RUSS SMITH


WILMINGTON, DE – JANUARY 20, 2017 – The Delaware 87ers today announced that the team has reacquired guard Russ Smith. He will be active for the Sevens’ NBA D-League Showcase game today against the Greensboro Swarm at 3 p.m. ET.

Delaware 87ers Guard RUSS SMITH (5) dribble the ball up court in the first half of a NBA D-league regular season basketball game between the Delaware 87ers and the Maine Red Claws Friday, Feb. 19, 2016 at The Bob Carpenter Sports Convocation Center in Newark, DEL.


Smith (6-0, 165) last played for the Sevens in the 2015-16 season, when he averaged 28 points, five rebounds, eight assists and two steals per game in 21 games. He holds the team’s single-game scoring record with 65 points.