Game Tying Three Comes Up Short as Charge Fall to Jam

Dominique Johnsonís potential game-tying three-point shot from the corner fell short as time expired and the Canton Charge were defeated by the NBA D-League best Bakersfield Jam 106-103 at the Memorial Civic Center on Wednesday night. The Charge dropped to 24-16 and still retain a 2.5 game lead in the East Division while the Jam improved their top mark to 27-12.

Bakersfield surged out to a 10-0 run to begin the game, forcing Canton to miss their first six shots. The Jam built their lead to as many as 14, but the Charge hit 10 of their final 17 shots in the period and closed on a 12-2 run to end the first down just 25-24.

The second quarter was closely contested throughout, with neither team extending a lead further than two baskets. Six ties and six lead changes later and the Jam still held a slight advantage over the charge at 52-50.

The back-and-forth theme continued as the two teams traded baskets on each of the first 10 possessions of the third quarter. After the Jam led 69-67 with 4:06 left in the period, the visitors gained the upper hand by then initiating a 13-4 run which propelled them to an 82-71 lead heading into the fourth.

Bakersfield stretched their lead to its largest of the game at 15 early in the fourth quarter and would maintain a double-digit advantage for much of the first half of the period. Down by 11 with 6:05 left, Canton then assembled a quick 13-2 run over a span of 3:37 to tie the game. Kevin Jones gave the Charge their first lead of the half at 97-95 on a floating jumper on the teamís next possession.

The two teams traded buckets on each of the next three possessions before the Jamís Jerel McNeal put them ahead on a slashing bucket through the lane in which he drew contact and converted the old fashioned three-point play for a 102-101 lead. The Charge could only score two points on their final four possessions, and their last-second attempt to tie the game hit the front iron of the rim.

On assignment from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Jones finished with 27 points on 12-of-19 shooting with 11 rebounds, two blocks and two steals in 36 minutes for his eighth double-double in just his 10th game this season. Kyle Gibson finished with a season-high 29 points, his 11th 20+ point game this season, as well as three rebounds and six assists in 38 minutes. Micheal Eric came off the bench to supply 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting with four rebounds and two blocks in just 18 minutes.

McNeal finished with a 29 points on 11-of-23 shooting with two rebounds and four assists in 33 minutes. Damion James compiled a double-double of 21 points with 14 rebounds and two blocks in 36 minutes. Toronto Raptors assignee Quincy Acy added 14 points, nine rebounds and two blocks in 38 minutes. Brian Butch scored eight points and grabbed 14 boards in 34 minutes from the center spot.

Canton will clash with the East Division rival Erie BayHawks on back-to-back nights at the Memorial Civic Center this Friday & Saturday, March 15th & 16th at 7:30 p.m. Friday is Scout Night, with local troops from all over the area in attendance for a night of fun that includes dollar hot dogs presented by Sugardale and postgame free-throws! Tickets for both games start as low as $7 and fans can receive more information by heading HERE.

POSTGAME QUOTES

CHARGE HEAD COACH ALEX JENSEN

(On tonight's game):ďIn the beginning, we played behind the ball and did a good job of fighting back. We had a little confusion come out of the last timeout, Iíll take the blame for that. Thereís still the free-throw percentage at 65 and if we shoot at 75 percent, we win. The turnovers and 10 offensive rebounds were crucial. There were a lot of times tonight where we played good defense for 23, 22, 24 seconds and then we couldnít come up with a loose ball or rebound.Ē

(On coming back from an 11-point deficit):ďWe just came out aggressive and we actually played with the urgency like we were down. Instead, in the beginning of the game you should have that same urgencyÖ We just came out like we needed it and itís the mindset of playing like that all of the time. Itís hard to turn off and on.Ē

F KEVIN JONES

(On shaking off early turnovers):ďMy teammates and team were struggling in general so I just wanted to provide any energy that I could. I know that the four turnovers in 10 minutes arenít like me; thatís not my game and I just needed to slow down. I started slowing down and started to play better.Ē

(On how his play in Canton affects his play in Cleveland):ďI definitely go up there with more confidence and itís like Iím a whole new person when Iím down here. I just try to bring that same kind of energy and intensity there when I get called back up.Ē

Fans can stay up-to-date on team news by following the team @CantonCharge on Twitter here and on Facebook here.