GRAND RAPIDS – The Grand Rapids Drive (28-21) got off to a hot start and did not look back as they defeated the Greensboro Swarm (16-33) by a 116-97 final at home on Friday night. The Drive led by 16 points at the end of the first quarter, pushed their lead to as much as 26 points and never trailed in the game.
KJ McDaniels continued to excel as a reserve for the Drive, scoring 25 points on just 15 field goal attempts with 10 rebounds, six of those on the offensive end. Derek Willis led the team with 12 rebounds, scoring 17 points along the way. Speedy Smith and Landry Nnoko also recorded double-doubles for Grand Rapids, Smith with 18 points and 11 assists and Nnoko with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
T.J. Williams had a stellar showing off the bench for the visiting Swarm, going 12-of-15 from the field to record 26 points Damien Wilkins, who had 37 points against the Drive in a previous matchup February 23, scored 24 points as well. Mangok Mathiang had 16 rebounds and five blocks for Greensboro.
The Drive’s proficiency from three-point range and the free throw line were major factors in the nearly 20-point victory. They went 15-of-33 from three-point range for over 45 percent, and also hit 23-of-28 from the foul line. They also held a 54-40 rebounding advantage, dished 21 assists to 13 by Greensboro and recorded 19 offensive rebounds, more than doubling the Swarm’s total of eight.
Grand Rapids is close to earning its first playoff berth in franchise history. As the Drive enter their final game of the year they sit one game up on both the Lakeland Magic and Long Island Nets. Their final regular season game will be pivotal, as they are home against Long Island Saturday night. With a loss, the Drive are eliminated from the playoffs.(SEE CORRECTION ABOVE) The Swarm also finish up their regular season Saturday, on the road against Windy City.