GRAND RAPIDS – The Grand Rapids Drive (7-9) nearly lost a 20-point lead in the final quarter, but their strong play in the first half was enough to earn a home win over Raptors 905 (12-5) Friday night. 110-105 was the final score, as the Drive have now picked up two wins in a row at home after a six-game losing streak.
Zach Lofton scored 25 points to lead the Drive, all of them coming in the first three quarters. He had 14 points in the third quarter alone. The Drive’s other two-way player, Keenan Evans, also contributed one of his best games of the season with 21 points, six rebounds and six assists. Speedy Smith had another strong game in his second contest back with 21 points and seven rebounds and Johnny Hamilton picked up his fifth double-double in six games with 13 points and a season-high 15 rebounds.
Kyle Collingsworth paced the 905 with 20 points, 10 rebounds and five steals, all team highs. Jordan Loyd struggled with his shot (missing all 13 of his three-pointers) but still managed 19 points, six rebounds and four assists. Rodney Pryor and Christian Watford combined for 32 points off the bench for the visitors as well.
The Drive snapped out of a lengthy slump from deep in convincing fashion, knocking down 13 of their 23 three-point attempts (57 percent). All but one of their players that attempted a three-pointer hit at least half of their attempts. They hit seven of their 11 attempts in the first half.
The Grand Rapids lead was 17 points at halftime and climbed to as many as 20 points in the third quarter, but the 905 put the certainty of a Drive win in serious jeopardy with a fourth-quarter surge. The 2016-17 champs turned up the defensive intensity late, pressing the Drive’s guards and forcing turnovers. They had a chance to tie the game down three with 13 seconds remaining, but opted for a two-point shot and were then forced to foul, with the Drive knocking down the remaining four free throws to seal the game.