SPRINGFIELD, Mass -- It took any extra period, but the Springfield Armor earned its first win in playoff history Sunday night defeating the Canton Charge 125-116 (box score) at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. The Armor tied the best-of-three series after dropping the first game in Canton on Friday night. Sunday’s win sets the stage for a decisive Game 3 Monday night in Springfield.
Former Nets forward Dennis Horner scored 12 of his 29 points from the fourth quarter on. He also grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds. He scored six straight Armor points to open the fourth and during a back-and-forth quarter scored the last six points to tie the game at 113 sending the game into overtime.
JamesOn Curry, who had a game-high 30 points and seven assists, had a chance to win the game in regulation, but was called for an offensive foul with 0.4 seconds remaining. It was one of the few times a Curry drive didn’t end in an Armor bucket.
Curry and Horner led the way in overtime as Curry knocked down a foul line jumper early. And after a Canton miss, Horner got fouled and sank a pair of free throws.
Charge forward Luke Harangody, who was re-assigned from Cleveland earlier in the day, buried a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 117-116, but that would be the final basket of the night for the Charge.
Springfield scored eight unanswered to take Game 2.
“We worked all season to get here,” said Horner. “I didn’t want to go out like that tonight.”
Springfield came out on fire. The Armor connected on seven of the first eight shots and quickly grabbed a 26-10 lead, the largest lead of the game. Curry did a terrific job of getting into the lane and either getting fouled or finding an open teammate. The Armor also benefited from good outside shooting.
On the defensive end, Springfield swarmed Canton, never letting them get a good look. However, late in the first quarter and into the second, the defensive intensity faded and Canton was able to crawl back into the game, trailing at half 64-57.
In the third, Canton grabbed its first lead of the contest, 70-69, four minutes in on a Dante Milligan floater. The Charge held the Armor to a miserable 5-for-15 shooting in the third.
“We wanted to get the basket and get to the line,” said MacKinnon. “I thought we stayed with it. There was only one stretch in the third quarter where we started relying on jump shots.”
The Armor took 54 shots from the foul line Sunday night, 31 more than on Friday.
Springfield was also strong on the boards Sunday, much improved from Friday’s loss where the Charge outrebounded the Armor 53-41. Sunday, Springfield owned the boards 44-27.
“That was a big focus for us,” said MacKinnon. “Friday night was disappointing. Not that we lost, but that we got outworked. I thought that we worked as hard as they did tonight.”
Monday’s game begins at 7 p.m. from the MassMutual Center.
“All we have is one more game and if you can’t get up for that, you shouldn’t be in this business,” said MacKinnon.