Swarm earn their first victory of the season

The teams’ big men reach for a jump ball during the second quarter of last Friday’s game.

Swarm earn their first victory of the season
December 01
04:30 2016

Photo by Timothy Ramsey



In this inaugural season in the NBA development league (D-league) for the Greensboro Swarm, the team has found that wins are rather hard to come by.

The Swarm has started the season with an 0-5 record but righted the ship by earning their first victory of the year by defeating the Erie BayHawks 109-88 Friday night.

With Charlotte Hornets affiliated player Aaron Harrison back in the fold and in the starting lineup, the Swarm got off to a great start shooting the ball.

Harrison, along with point guard and leading scorer Xavier Munford, were on target shooting the ball from the start.

Munford scored 26 and Harrison had a game high 31 points on the evening. Veteran Damien Wilkins chipped in with 14 points and Perry Ellis contributed with 12 points off the bench.  The defense for the Swarm in the first half set the tone for the game as they held the lead from wire to wire.

Swarm head coach Noel Gillespie says he gives all credit to his players for their first win.

“It’s great, and I know this sounds like a coaching cliché, but obviously the players score every bucket and it was due to them focusing in,” said Gillespie.  “They came in focused this morning before the game and they’re buying into the game plan and executing.  Hopefully we can do it again tomorrow.”

The first quarter was tightly contested early on.  The BayHawks were led by Lewis Jackson, who hit a couple of pull up jumpers in the lane.  Munford answered back with a jump shot off the dribble and hitting two from the free throw line.  Erie center Cliff Alexander used his large frame to clean up the boards for easy put backs. The BayHawks, however, were unable to stop the prolific outside shooting from Harrison, and the Swarm led 27-22 after one quarter.

The Swarm ratcheted up the defensive intensity in the second quarter, forcing Erie to shoot long jump shots and corralling the rebound.  On the offensive end, the Swarm continued to lean on Harrison and Munford, who hit clutch shot after shot. They were able to stretch the lead to 18 by the end of the half and held Erie to only 38 points, their lowest point total given up all season.

Gillespie said coming into the game, he wanted Harrison and Munford to be aggressive coming off screens and to look to attack the rim.

“They are so good at drawing defenders and the other teams’ big guys then kicking out to open shooters,” said Gillespie.  “With Rasheed and Aaron in the starting lineup with Xavier and with Damien at the four spot, you have four guys who can make plays and have high basketball IQs.  The mindset for those two [Harrison and Munford] to attack and be selfish from the beginning is huge.”

The BayHawks made a bit of a run in the third quarter after falling behind by more than 20 points.  T.J. Price and Jackson hit a few big shots and made some terrific passes in the lane for easy layups for their big men.  The Swarm kept their composure and held on to a 81-71 lead after three quarters.

During the fourth quarter, veteran forward Damien Wilkins became more aggressive by posting up smaller defenders in the post and seemingly scoring at will. The defensive intensity from the first half returned for the Swarm and they held on for a 109-88 victory.

Wilkins said his team came out with intensity in the first half but relaxed once they had a big lead.  He said they had a similar problem in their last game against the Delaware 87ers but learned their lesson and hung on for the victory this time out.

“It was great, but we can’t take this for granted,” Wilkins said of his team’s first win.  “We have to get hungry, we have to get greedy for another win.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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