GRITTY TEAM EFFORT FALLS SHORT AS RAPTORS TOP SEVENS
By Varun Raghupathi, 24/Sevens Insider
NEWARK, DE – The Delaware 87ers (26-23) fell to Raptors 905 (39-11) 123-103 and are officially eliminated from playoff contention. The Sevens needed to win out and have the Maine Red Claws lose out in order to qualify, but the team will have to wait until next season to try and make their first playoff appearance in franchise history.
The 905 was on the ball from the start, pouring in three-pointers from all over the court. The team finished a stellar 15-27 from downtown, nearly a 56 percent clip. Toronto’s D-League affiliate finishes the season with 39 wins, good for second-most in league history, as well as a Spurs-esque 21-4 road record.
Delaware trailed by as many as 15 points in the first quarter, but battled back to make it a six-point affair after one. A Mikh McKinney three at the first-quarter buzzer appeared to portend better things for the 87ers moving forward, but the 905 proved to be too tough.
The Sevens’ only lead of the game was 37-36 in the early part of the second quarter. Delaware allowed the 905 to score at least 30 points in three of the four periods. Raptors 905 is the only Eastern Conference team that the 87ers did not beat this season.
Though Delaware made things interesting in the second half, the 905 never surrendered the lead and put in timely shots to salt away the game. The visitors played eight and seven guys finished in double figures. Axel Toupane led the 905 in scoring with 22 points.
The 87ers had four players climb above the 10-point threshold, led by Nate Robinson and his 28. Robinson also dished out nine assists. Devondrick Walker (19), Shane Edwards (17) and McKinney (13) were the other double-figure scorers.
Delaware’s final game of the season is Saturday, April 1 against the Erie Bayhawks. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.