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Armor carries three-game winning streak into the weekend

Date: 2/5/2014

SPRINGFIELD – Capitalizing on a 19-point first-quarter lead, the Springfield Armor, presented by MGM Springfield, were able to withstand a late run by the visiting Erie BayHawks (8-20) to hold on for their third straight victory, 104-98 on Feb. 3 at the MassMutual Center.

The Armor continued their recent torrid pace through first quarters, pushing their lead as high as 20 on Monday night before entering the second with a 36-17 edge on the BayHawks. All five starters registered points in the opening frame, led by Adonis Thomas’ nine. Springfield used a slew of baskets around the rim to build its 19-point advantage, outscoring Erie 16-8 in the paint.

Springfield continued the rest of the first half without relinquishing its lead, taking a 59-44 edge into the locker room behind 14 first-half points from Jeff Foote. The Armor’s seven-foot center went 6-of-7 from the field and pulled down six boards through the first 24 minutes, while Erie’s leading scorer came off the bench as C.J. Leslie paced the BayHawks offense with 13 points.

Erie cut the Armor lead into single digits in the third, outscoring Springfield 26-20 in the period as Leslie poured in 11 to bring his total to 24 through three quarters on the night. After the Armor held a 16-8 advantage in the paint after one, the BayHawks went on to total 34 points down low over the next two quarters to aid the rally.

Trailing by nine at 79-70 heading into the fourth, Erie used a 9-0 run to tie the game for the first time as the Armor offense was held scoreless for more than three minutes. After a pair of free throws from Foote gave the Armor an 81-79 edge, Springfield closed the fourth quarter by outscoring the BayHawks 23-19 over the final eight minutes for the 104-98 victory, never allowing Erie to draw even again. Through the last minute, Springfield connected on 5-of-6 free throws, including three from Quinn McDowell, to ice the team’s third straight win.

Thomas finished with a team-best 23 points, while Foote logged his fourth double-double with a season-high 20 points to go along with 13 rebounds. All five starters for the Armor logged double figures as that group collectively shot 7-of-15 from beyond the arc.

The Armor returns home Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. to host the Canton Charge.