WILMINGTON – The Grand Rapids Drive (24-20) used a big fourth quarter to defeat the Delaware Blue Coats (18-24) on the road Saturday night by a final score of 120-115. The Drive continued their great run, as they have now won 11 of their last 13 games and finished the last five games of their long road trip undefeated.
The Drive did not lead by more than one point until late in the fourth quarter despite the lead changing hands four times in the first 36 minutes, and the Blue Coats never led by more than 10 points in a closely-fought battle. The Drive played one of their best fourth quarters of the year, scoring 39 points which was one shy of their highest total for the fourth on the season. The Drive relied on trips to the foul line and clutch baskets by Speedy Smith and Svi Mykhailiuk late.
An impressive seven players scored in double figures for the Drive, led by Mykhailiuk’s 21 points off the bench. He also added six assists. Fellow Pistons assignee Khyri Thomas scored 18 points, Smith and Marcus Thornton each had 16 points and Johnny Hamilton and Kalin Lucas each had 13 off the bench. The Drive got 58 points from their bench on the night.
Shake Milton notched 23 points and eight assists for the Blue Coats and Norvel Pelle made a huge impact on both ends with 22 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks. Amir Johnson and Haywood Highsmith each picked up 13 points for the home team as well.
The Blue Coats’ size was a problem for the Drive all night despite the Drive ending up victorious, as they out-rebounded the Drive 51-39 and recorded 13 blocked shots, tied for the most by a Drive opponent this year. The Blue Coats also had advantages in assists, field goal and three-point percentage. The Drive greatly outpaced Delaware in terms of free-throw attempts (36 to 21) and also turned the ball over just 10 times on the night.