A second half one man show by Ja'Quaye James made things interesting, but the Howard Pulley Panthers stood their ground and showed why they have won eight of their first nine games on the season. They capitalized on the mistakes and missed shot attempts by the Playaz to take the opening game in Atlanta,
It was a solid contest, as both teams had streaks of great play and deep runs. Pulley would strike first and compile a seven-point lead after about five minutes of play. However, Marcellus Earlington of the Playaz got into the mix and put the Playaz on his back briefly to keep things respectable. He had ten in the half to lead the Playaz.
Jalen Carey, the leading scorer for the Playaz, stepped as he made a lot of plays and tried to get his team back into the game. As the game went on, however, Carey all but disappeared and appeared not to be much of a factor, struggling to put the ball in the cup against the stingy Pulley defense.
Pulley led at the half by a score of 38-31. Swingman Gabe Kalscheur had 14 points in the first half, and even though Tre Jones played the primary role of facilitator he still managed to add in nine points in the half. Forward Jarvis Thomas also made his presence felt in the paint, cleaning up the glass and letting his physical presence be known. He had six in the half.
As the game progressed, Pulley kept a hold on their lead. They started off the half on a 20-12 run to create even more separation before an outpouring of buckets from James. However, Pulley buckled down and maintained their composure down the stretch to hold on.
The patience of Howard Pulley combined with their defensive effort and pushing of the tempo really gave them the advantage in this one. They were able to stay ahead because of some sloppy play from the Playaz.
Both Daniel Oturu and David Roddy scored ten points in the second half alone for Pulley, which was a huge boost for Pulley. Tre Jones finished with 15 points and nine dimes, and Gabe Kalscheur finished with a game high 19 points in another victory for the Panthers.