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Razorsharks make it 10 straight, beat Buffalo
The Rochester RazorSharks extend their winning streak to 10 games and improve to (11-1) overall and (6-0) at the Blue Cross Arena after defeating Buffalo 716ers 116-95.
The Sharks entered the game without star point guard Terrance Whiters who was out with a hamstring injury, but in his absence a number of guys stepped up including Dwayne Gland who had a season high of 14 points.
With the RazorSharks off for a week Head Coach Lawrence Moten stressed to his team the importance of heading into the break on a high note.
We started off with a lot of energy, despite one of our top players going down, but other guys stepped it up Moten said. Guys are playing together and understanding each other which is nice to see.
Rochesters center Ayodele Coker in the first half was a force down low scoring 16 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Coker led a 12-3 run to close out the half scoring 10 of those points to help give the Sharks a 59-50 lead at the break.
66 Louie McCroskey used his height to his advantage by taking undersized defenders to the basket which led to easy finishes. McCroskey led all RazorSharks in scoring with 18 points while adding nine rebounds.
Early in the fourth quarter Rochester led by 19 points, 91-72, but former RazorShark guard Ajay Rutledge now playing for the 716ers kept Buffalo in the game starting a 10-2 run with a break away dunk followed by a three point play. Rutledge scored 16 of his game high 24 in the second half.
It was great to be able to come back and play in my city of Rochester, Rutledge said. My mentality has always been to get to the rim and I was able to do that today.
After the 10-2 run, Buffalo cut the lead to just eleven with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Down the stretch Rochester was too strong inside both on the offensive end and on the defensive end. The Sharks dominated on the boards, out rebounding Buffalo 63-38.
Chaz Crawford pulled down 15 rebounds and added a franchise record nine blocks. The previous record of seven was set back in 2008 by Ron Rollerson.
Every time they were trying to come into the paint I was just trying to get another block, Crawford said. A key to our win was on the defensive end as we had to limit them to only one shot opportunities.
Rochester had another balanced attack having seven guys score in double digits. Coker added 16 to go along with 13 rebounds, Scott Rodgers, Rob Diggs, and Aaron Williams chipped in 12 apiece.
Kelvin Agee added 15 points and Travonta Gatewood put in 12 and eight rebounds for the 716ers.
After the game Rutledge added that the Sharks size was too much for Buffalo. We struggled with size down low, we dont have the size to box out and get rebounds so with guys like Coker and Crawford there really wasnt much we could do about it.
With under a minute to go Rodgers made an alley-oop pass to Gland who put the exclamation point on the victory with a monster two-handed slam.
With the loss Buffalo falls to 1-6 and they play at home in Buffalo on Feb. 22 against the Carolina Vipers.
The RazorSharks will have a week off from practice and get back to game action on March 2 at Lynchburg against the Titans.