After their game against the New England Outtatowners got postponed due to inclement weather, the 78s returned to the court on January 26, to take on the Elite Kings for the final time this season.
In what was a back-and-forth matchup, Worcester prevailed and came away with the 132-126 victory, thanks in large part to the double-double performances of Maurice Horton and Sean McCarthy, and big play by Lee Vazquez in the fourth quarter.
Horton shined in the first quarter of the game as he made several nice baskets for the 78s to get things rolling.
This season, when Worcester and New York have played against one another, the 78s would find a way to quickly pull away. However, things were different this time around, and the Kings hung tough and kept up with the 78s’ pace.
Worcester particularly had a difficult time guarding number 10 on the Kings all night long, as the New Yorker sank two three-pointers and a field goal in the second quarter. It appeared the Kings would reverse the script in this one as they did momentarily grab the lead.
However, the 78s came back and a critical pass from Horton to Avery King perhaps prevented the game from getting out of hand for Worcester.
In the third quarter, the Kings kept up their offensive show and continued to give the 78s a taste of their own medicine, which was to hit from behind the arc. New York executed, but Worcester rose to the challenge as well and made some critical three-pointers and free-throws to stay with the Kings.
Both teams were fouled on a number of occasions in the third quarter, which displayed how much pressure both offenses were putting on the defenses.
In the fourth and final quarter, the Kings’ number 10 continued his sensational shooting, as he seemingly made basket after basket.
However, the 78s, led by Horton, Vazquez and Sam Longwell, kept it up as well. Both teams continued to exchange baskets throughout much of the final quarter.
The game changing play occurred within the final two minutes of regulation. With Worcester leading by a thread, the Kings began a passing a sequence on their side of the court.
The number 10 player on the Kings, who had given the 78s a headache all night long, looked for an open man to pass to, but was intercepted by Vazquez.
Vazquez stole the pass, dribbled down the court, and made the layup, that effectively put the game away for Worcester, as they held on to win 132-126.
Horton’s double-double consisted of 26 points and 16 rebounds, while McCarthy’s consisted of 10 points and 11 rebounds. Vazquez and Longwell both led the team in points on the night, as both netted 26. Five players also had double-digit figures in at least one offensive category on the night.
With the win, Worcester completes the season sweep of the Kings, going a perfect 3-0. The six-point difference was the closest gap that the Kings ever had against the 78s during the season.