"Go big or go home" is a saying the Bloomington Flex turned into "go small and go to town" during Sunday's 112-103 Midwest Professional Basketball Association win over the Gateway Steam.
With 6-foot-8 post men Anthony Slack and Matt Salley on the bench with five fouls each, the Flex went to a five-guard lineup and turned a 72-71 third-quarter deficit into an 88-72 advantage.
"When we are down as a team, we pick it up," said Coach Carlnel Wiley Jr., whose squad visits the Champaign Swarm for a 7:30 p.m. game Thursday at Parkland College. "That's when we all come together."
The Swarm (3-0) and Flex (4-1) have the MPBA's top records. Wiley hopes a rivalry develops between the league's I-74 outposts.
"Why not?" he said. "It's good for the league. It's good for the teams. It's good for the towns."
The Swarm present a good challenge as they win by 22.5 points on average. They have six double-figure scorers led by 6-7 Arnold Lewis (18.0 ppg).
"We match up well with them," Wiley said. "They do special things with posting up their guards. It's seems like they have great rebounding so we have to get on the boards."
The MPBA's scoring leader is Flex guard Justin Bocot (27.6 ppg). Fabyon Harris, a 5-11 guard from Texas A&M, led the Flex ON Sunday with 26 points, including 10 during its 17-0 run.
"Is he not like Speedy Gonzalez?" Wiley quipped. "He can shoot. He's feisty. One thing you can't take away from that kid is his heart and the way he competes."
Carlos Taylor, a 6-foot guard out of Montana State, has replaced Emil Clayton on the Flex roster.
"Carlos will be a real good shooter for us," Wiley said. "He led the Big Sky Conference in scoring in 2008 (at 18.1 ppg). He has a great IQ of the game."
Abe Millsap, a 6-4 guard out of Tennessee State, is working out with the Flex, but has not been activated.