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Wizards

Dakota’s Chris Wright slams one home against Texas on Thursday at the Bismarck Civic Center. The Wizards won.

All that was missing was the Beach Boys music.

The Dakota Wizards are riding the crest of the D-League wave, and the fun continued Thursday night at the Civic Center.

A strong second quarter launched the Wizards to a 109-89 victory over Texas. Paired with Wednesday’s 147-126 blowout the Wizards earned a sweep of the Legends, a vital step in their pursuit of a D-League playoff berth.

“We’ve got some great players on our team and we’re buying into what coach wants — toughness, playing defense and sharing the ball,” Wizards guard Stefhon Hannah said.

Both teams are in the fight for one the league’s eight playoff berths. The Wizards improved to 26-20 with their two-game sweep of Texas. The Legends dropped to 24-22.

Each team has four regular season games remaining. The Wizards play host to Bakersfield and Sioux Falls next week before closing with two at Fort Wayne next weekend.

The night did not bode well for Texas, which had won 11 of 13 games before visiting the Civic Center. Six-foot-11 post Dan Gadzuric didn’t dress due to an ankle injury sustained on Wednesday and his backup, 6-11 Ibrahima Thomas, lasted only 21/2 minutes before going down.

“It was a dislocated shoulder,” Texas assistant coach Scott Flemming said. “It popped back in, but they felt if he went back in he could do further damage.”

Nonetheless, Texas soldiered on, running off 11 straight points for a 30-21 lead. The Legends were up 32-27 at the quarter break, but trouble lay ahead.

Down 40-36, the Wizards took off on an 18-3 tear.

Edwin Ubiles closed the blitz with a long two-pointer with :58 to play in the half, giving Dakota a 54-45 advantage.

Up 59-50 at halftime, the Wizards never let Texas get closer than seven points in the second half.

A 15-6 run late in the third period put the hosts on top 85-66, and from that point on it was all academic.

The Wizards’ biggest lead was a 109-88 spread on a 3-pointer by Marcus Dove with :53 on the clock.

A four-pronged attack accounted for most of the Wizards offense.

Hannah scored 27 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and added seven assists.

Edwin Ubiles, Chris Wright and Marcus Dove scored 21, 21 and 18 in the frontcourt.

Wright, an athletic

6-foot-8 226 pounder, accounted for 11 rebounds and kept the crowd entertained with six stuffs. He delivered a real rafter-rattler with 9:04 to play to open an 89-76 lead.

“He gets up there on the rim. ... He played really hard and had some really big rebounds down the stretch,” Wizards coach Nate Bjorkgren said.

Bjorkgren said he doesn’t know how long he’ll have Wright, who is on assignment from Golden State, at his disposal. He said it’s a day-to-day matter.

“I’m going to hear back from my boss,” Bjorkgren said. “... He’ll be deciding if (Wright) stays with us a couple more games or not.”

Bjorkgren liked the fact that Hannah’s offensive effort wasn’t one-dimensional.

“The guys are doing a good job of finding him and he had seven assists,” Bjorkgren said. “He’ll throw the ball right up there to you. He’s done a good job of sharing the basketball.”

That’s part of the deal, according to Hannah, a 6-1, 175-pounder.

“We’re just playing together,” he said.

Hannah said the Wizards, who have won six of their last seven, haven’t peaked yet.

“We play well and peak at moments, but we’ve got to get consistent,” he observed.

Bjorkgren agreed.

“We’re trying to stay on the crest. The key is to be consistent,” he said.

Alando Tucker was the big gun for Texas, scoring 23 points. He sank three of the Legends’ six 3-pointers.

With Texas unable to field a true post player, the Wizards controlled the boards 50-37 and got into the paint often enough for a 52 percent shooting night. Texas, conversely, shot 40 percent.

Flemming said that situation should improve when the Legends return home.

“We’ll activate (6-10) Sean Williams. He was with the Dallas Mavericks, and they released him,” Flemming said.

Flemming pointed to the Wizards as a team that will have to be reckoned with.

“They’re probably as strong as anyone right now in terms of personnel,” he said. “They have a solid nine or 10 guys.”

Texas 32 50 71 89

Wizards 27 59 85 109

TEXAS (89): Ramon Dyer 4-7 0-0 8, Alando Tucker 8-15 4-4 23, Ibrahima Thomas 0-1 1-2 1, Antonio Daniels 6-11 5-6 18, Dominique Johnson 4-11 0-0 8, Anthony Vereen 4-10 5-5 13, Drew Neitzel 3-8 0-0 7, Kelenna Azubuike 3-8 0-0 6, Booker Woodfox 2-12 0-0 5, Chris Roberts 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 34-85 15-17 89.

WIZARDS (109): Edwin Ubiles 8-13 5-6 21, Chris Wright 8-14 5-8 21, Marcus Dove 6-9 5-6 18, Stefhon Hannah 9-18 4-4 27, Maurice Baker 1-3 0-0 2, Shy Ely 1-3 0-0 2, Justin Johnson 3-6 0-0 6, Taylor Griffin 2-5 0-0 6, Leo Lyons 0-4 0-0 0, Tommy Smith 3-4 0-0 6. Totals: 41-79 19-24 109.

3-pointers: T 6-19 (Tucker 3-6, Daniels 1-1, Neitzel 1-3, Woodfox 1-4, Azubuike 0-1, Roberts 0-1, Johnson 0-3), W 8-22 (Hannah 5-10, Griffin 2-4, Dove 1-1, Baker 0-1, Lyons 0-1, Ely 0-2, Ubiles 0-3). Rebounds: T 37 (Dyer 10, Azubuike 9, Vereen 7), W 50 (Hannah 11, Wright 11, Dove 5). Fouls: T 21, W 20. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: None. Turnovers: T 12, W 12. Assists: T 20 (Daniels 8, Woodfox 4), W 27 (Hannah 7, Ubiles 6, Ely 4). Steals: T 6, W 7. Blocked shots: T 2, W 2.

Records: Texas 24-22, Wizards 26-20.

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Reach reporter Steve Thomas at  250-8244 or steve.thomas@bismarcktribune.com.

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