ALBUQUERQUE, NM, Feb. 23, 2010 – Albuquerque opened the second half flat and ultimately ran out of time as the T-Birds fell to the Bakersfield Jam, 102-97, on Tuesday night to close out their three game road trip. Keith McLeod had 21 points and 13 assists and Carlos Powell recorded 18 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists for the Thunderbirds
Bakersfield outscored Albuquerque 34-19 in the third quarter to turn a three point halftime deficit into a 12 point lead going into the fourth.
Chad Toppert scored eight straight for Albuquerque early in the fourth quarter, including back-to-back threes, to cut the lead to four with 9:10 remaining. The T-Birds kept it close throughout the final period, but were never able to get over the hump and take control of the game.
Albuquerque trailed 100-95 with 35.7 seconds remaining, but a Powell layup on the ensuing inbounds pass cut the lead to three, and Bakersfield turned the ball over on their next possession to give the T-Birds a chance to tie the game on their final possession.
Once again the team went to Powell, but his three failed to connect and the Jam added two free throws in the final seconds to notch the five point victory.
Shane Edwards and Toppert each posted 17 points for the T-Birds, with Toppert scoring 14 in the fourth period alone. Antoine Agudio added 13 for Albuquerque.
Brian Butch led all players with 30 points and 24 rebounds for Bakersfield.
The T-Birds struggled mightily from beyond the three point arc through the first three quarters, shooting just 3-22. Albuquerque found its stroke in the fourth, however, connecting on six triples in the final frame.
The Thunderbirds recorded a season high 32 assists on 38 field goals.