(Bakersfield, Calif. – February 21, 2010) — The Bakersfield Jam and Austin Toros fought a see-saw battle to the very end on Sunday evening, but when the dust cleared it was Austin holding on for a victory by the slimmest of margins, 109-108.
The final few minutes of the game were a whirlwind of action, as Bakersfield point guard Jeremy Wise and Austin counterpart Curtis Jerrells pushed their teams up and down the floor at a breakneck pace. Over a stretch from the three-minute mark until only one minute remained the lead changed hands a remarkable nine times, with Jerrells (22 points, 10 assists, six rebounds, three steals) dropping six points and adding an assist while Wise (24 points, 11 assists, two blocks) had four points and two dimes.
The ninth lead change – on a Lewis Clinch 3-pointer that gave Austin their 109-108 margin of victory – was followed by empty possessions for both teams, ultimately resulting in Austin inbounding the ball in their own frontcourt with seven seconds remaining after Reece Gaines' driving layup failed to connect. On the inbounds the ball was thrown to Toros standout Alonzo Gee (24 points, 5 rebounds) who appeared to catch the ball and establish possession in the Austin frontcourt before passing into the backcourt to Jerrells.
No backcourt violation was whistled, however, and Jam players failed to foul Jerrells in the ensuing confusion before time expired. Had a foul been committed the Jam would have sent the Toros guard to the line with a chance to extend his team's lead to three, but would likely have had a final chance to tie or perhaps win the game.
Reserve guard Patrick Mutombo had his best game in a Jam uniform, scoring 21 points to go with two steals as a suspension and an injury pressed him into extra minutes. Brian Butch, despite a mediocre shooting performance, notched another double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
In addition to Gee's scoring and Jerrells' furious late-game push, Austin got a herculean effort out of league-leading rebounder Dwayne Jones, who exceeded even his own high standards with a 26-point, 26-rebound double-double, adding two blocks for good measure.
Bakersfield will finish their three-game homestand when they play host to the Albuquerque Thunderbirds on Tuesday evening, while the Toros head back to Austin for a week off before facing the Jam on Saturday, February 27.