ST. CHARLES, Mo.—The Gateway Steam got the franchise’s first win on Sunday with a 115-103 victory over the Chicago Force. The Steam’s swarming defense and great guard play paved the way for the St. Louis squad.
Guards Brandon McGill and Jonathon Miller came off the bench to score 23 points apiece. Miller shot a staggering 8-11 from the field and 6-10 from the free throw line. Meanwhile, McGill went 6-9 and 11-12, including hitting his final three free throws down the stretch to clinch the victory.
Not to be outdone by their backcourt companions, forwards Terrell Williams (15), Mike Gills (13), and Chad Fortenberry (13) each scored in double figures. Fortenberry led the team with nine rebounds.
Fortenberry continues to put up the loudest points in the league. He added a couple dunks to the highlight reel, including finishing an alley-oop off a no look pass from Curtis Mosley Jr. early in the contest.
Head Coach Durrell Robinson’s defense continues to confound opposing teams. The Force turned the ball over 20 times, 11 times off a Steam steal. The Force were held to 39% from the field and 8% from the line.
The Steam also showed great improvement at the free throw line from their opening night loss. Against their Family Arena roommate, the RiverSharks, they shot just 52% from the charity stripe, but on Sunday the Steam shot 72% on 47 attempts.
The one area where Coach Robinson might get some yelling in at practice is during rebounding drills. The Steam were once again outrebounded, but this time it was somehow worse. The Force won the rebounding battle 51-41, but the truly dizzying number is offense rebounds where Chicago grabbed 23. Those numbers are only survivable when your opponent goes 2-24 from three.
The Chicago Force were led by Jacob McCollum (23 pts), Tremell Adams (20), and Darius Smith (18). Derrick McDonald (15pts, 13 rebounds) and Antoine Ware (13, 10) both turned in double-doubles.
The Gateway Steam (1-1) will play their next three games on the road. Saturday, Jan. 11 the Steam will be the guest for the Windy City Groove’s season opener. The Steam will next be at the Family Arena Jan. 24 to play the St. Louis RiverSharks.
Full game stats can be found at theMPBA.com
(Photo by Mick Lite)
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