Playoffs are right around the corner as the fifth place Blue Coats host the fourth place Lakeland Magic. The Magic are currently the hottest team in the eastern conference coming in today on a four game win streak. The Blue Coats are hoping to get it going down this important stretch of the season after a loss on Saturday to the 905 Raptors.
The Lakeland Magic are 13-6 on the road this season as all year they have played strong on the road. They also have one of the G-League’s top scorers Amile Jefferson. The former Duke player is averaging 24 PPG and a little over 12 boards.
The Blue Coats will be once again without Koumadje as he continues to battle an ankle injury and are also without Justin Robinson. Newly acquired big man Dennis Clifford got his first home start for the Blue Coats. Marial shayok and Zhaire Smith come out of the gate hot with 10 of the first 12 points for the Blue Coats.
Josh Magette controlled the game early on for the Magic, but Jared Brownridge’s three threes off the bench helped keep the Blue Coats from falling behind too far early.
The 2nd quarter started with a 7-0 run from the Magic. The Blue Coats came marching back with help from Marial Shayok as he 20 first half points. Jared Brownridge also had five threes in the first half for the Blue Coats. The trio of Brownridge, Shayok, and Zhaire combined for 50 of the teams 63 first half points.
The 3rd quarter, much like the 2nd quarter, started with an 11-0 run by the Magic. The Blue Coats also took five minutes to score their first field goal of the half. The Magic were able to hold a double digit lead as the score going into the 4th quarter was 95-82.
The first play of the 4th quarter was a block by Xavier Munford called a foul but, the Blue Coats decided to challenge the play. The Blue Coats won the challenge but, the Magic scored immediately off the tip. The Blue Coats close the lead to four with the help of a Brownridge three and a Shayok bucket.
The Magic pulled away as the Blue Coats were unable to get a bucket and Josh Magette, the veteran, took over at the end of the game doing it all for his team. He ended with 38 points and 10 assists.
Coach Johnson after the game said about Magette and Jefferson “I really respect the way those guys play. They play like true professional basketball players. Magette’s pace is unbelievable. He is constantly looking for the next play. It reminds me a little bit of TJ McConnell in the sense that he’s running circles around everyone else opening opportunities.”
There are always positives to take away and for this game Marial Shayok had 26 points. Jared Brownridge also continues to be on a tear with 27 points and 7 threes. The Blue Coats move to 21-21 after this game and look to break the three game losing streak against Maine Red Claws on Wednesday at 11:00 AM in Wilmington.