OREM Morris Almond's night was fitting for the Utah Flash as they beat the Austin Toros 118-116 in overtime Friday night.
By leading the offense with 51 points tying the D-League single-game-scoring record he didn't just leave at that.
What clinched Utah's win was Almond's play to the hoop late in overtime instead of settling for a jump shot that gave the Flash a 116-113 lead.
"I learned from the last game against L.A. where it went into double overtime that your legs start to go late in the game right in the middle of deep jumpers," Almond said. "I was just trying something different and get to the basket."
Not settling for the jumper was one of the little things that Flash coach Brad Jones said gave his team the win.
"Everyone's going to talk about Morris Almond's 51 points," Jones said. "He was terrific and he got it within the flow of the offense.
"But we had so many little plays that won't show up in the paper tomorrow. John Millsap getting a loose-ball. Morris Almond going to the basket at the end to make something happen instead of settling for a jumper when he played 40 something-minutes."
Austin's Ian Mahinmi tied the game at 106-all with 4.2 seconds left in regulation with a long hook to send the game into overtime.
Mahinmi led the Toros with 25 points and 14 rebounds. All of the other Austin starters put up double-digit scoring numbers.
In the closing minute, it was a back-and-forth affair as Kevin Kruger gave Utah a 2-point lead with 6.8 seconds left with a jumper from a give-and-go play off his inbounds pass from a timeout.
It looked like the Flash would close the game out earlier when Kruger had a chance to give Utah a 3-point lead. He missed the front-end of his two free throws, though, to give the Toros a chance to tie the game without having to resort to shooting 3-pointers.
But his 15 assists and clutch shooting in overtime helped the Flash when the game was tight.15 comments on this story
"You don't get 15 assists without people making shots," Kruger said. "I was just playing point guard, anyone could have done it."
The Flash had to battle to even get back into position to win the game. The Toros took a 9-point lead in the third quarter and looked to run away before Utah crawled back.
Before that, it was Austin who rallied as it overcame a 19-point first-quarter deficit using a 14-0 run to start the second quarter to make it a game again. The Toros took a 47-46 lead as the halftime buzzer sounded to take their first lead since the start of the game.