The Gateway Steam traveled north this weekend for two road games but are coming home empty handed. On Saturday night, the Steam lost a heartbreaker to the Windy City Groove. They then had to turn around and play a game less than 20 hours later against the Bloomington Flex. Predictably, that short of a turnaround was not a positive for the St. Louis squad.
Windy City Groove 92, Gateway Steam 91
Saturday night was the first game in Groove franchise history and the best game of the young MPBA history. The Steam overcame a 10-point deficit entering the fourth quarter to take the lead in the game’s final minute. However, Groove guard Shedrick Haynes hit a jumper with just 2.9 seconds left to send the fans home happy from the Kroc Center on opening night.
Haynes led the way for the Groove with 17 points on 7-10 shooting from the floor. Haynes hot shooting night was indicative of the rest of the team’s performance as they shot an absurd 61%. Guard Nate Fuqua and forward Christopher Dillard each contributed 16 points to the cause with Dillard also leading the team in rebounding with 8.
The Steam were led on the score sheet by Jonathan Miller’s 17 points and on the glass by Terrell Williams. Williams posted a double-double with 11 of his 15 points coming at the free throw line. The Steam had a good shooting night of their own finishing over 50% and actually won the rebounding battle for the first time this season. It’s just flat out hard to win games when your opponent makes over 60% of their shots.
Bloomington Flex 122, Gateway Steam 83
The Steam made the two-hour trek back south to take on the Bloomington Flex Sunday afternoon. The Flex raised their banner for last year’s perfect season and seemed determined to live up to it. Bloomington rode an early 30-0 run to an insurmountable lead and their first victory of the season.
The scoring barrage started with the Steam down just 11-7. The first quarter ended 30-7, but the run didn’t. It finally ended with a Curtis Mosely Jr. jumper to make it 41-9 at the 8:11 mark of the second quarter.
Flex guard Justin Bocot put up 30 points for the second straight game and tied for the team lead with 8 rebounds. Five more Bloomington players made it into double figures, as they shot 64% from the floor and outrebounded the Steam 50-32.
Mosely led the Steam with 15 points, followed by Darion Anderson who scored 12 points including going 2-3 from 3-point range. Gateway rebounded from a dismal 18% first quarter to shoot 44% for the game, but shot themselves in the foot with 14 turnovers.
It is a recognized fact that NBA teams generally lose the second game of a back-to-back and are even more likely to when they are on the road. The MPBA has more than a couple back-to-backs on the schedule, so it will be interesting to see just how poorly teams play in that second game. After all, NBA teams are working with optimal conditions—private planes and 5-star meals and hotels—and still feel the effects.
The Steam (1-3) are back in Illinois on Thursday to take on the Champaign Swarm at 7:30 pm. Gateway is then off until Jan. 24 when they will be back at the Family Arena to play their roommates, the St. Louis RiverSharks.
(Photo Credit: Lori Ann Cook-Neisler/ The Pantagraph, Windy City Groove/Facebook)
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