Bighorns Balanced Attack Not Enough in Bakersfield
Nov. 26, 2011
RENO, NEV.— The Reno Bighorns had six players in double figures Saturday night, but fell short to the Bakersfield Jam 118-111. Blake Ahearn had a game-high 30 points and 8 assists in the loss. Brian Butch led the Jam with 27 points and 13 rebounds. The game was tight throughout, with Ahearn and Butch continually making big plays for their teams down the stretch. Nick Fazekas had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Doug Thomas had 13 points and 14 rebounds, including 6 offensive rebounds for the Bighorns.
“We made great steps forward tonight,” said Ahearn. “We played hard. We need to stick together and wins will come.”
Ahearn effectively got to the free throw line (11-11) throughout the game where he has led the league in free throw percentage in the past. Cedric Bozeman also had an effective game scoring 19 points and adding 8 assists.
The first quarter started off similar to the season opener on Friday, with the Jam using a strong defensive effort to gain an early twelve point lead. Then Reno came storming back with four consecutive defensive stops and 12 points from Ahearn. The Jam’s lead was cut to one point until Damian Johnson hit on a long three pointer at the buzzer to extend the Jam lead to 30-26.
In the second quarter, the Bighorns kept the game close until Brian Butch got hot. He hit on 3 three pointers in a two minute span and the Jam took a 44-37 lead with six minutes remaining in the half. Then again, the Bighorns made a run sparked by Doug Thomas’s 6 offensive rebounds which brought the team numerous second chance points. After Cedric Bozeman was fouled at the buzzer while driving the lane, the Bighorns cut the lead to 51-54 at halftime.
The Bighorns came out strong in the third quarter, ignited when Fazekas tied the game at 59 on a floater in the lane. Bozeman then made a layup on a fast break to give the Bighorns the edge at 61-59. The Bighorns led by as many as ten points in the quarter but the Jam would eventually make a run and take the lead back on an Adrian Thomas three pointer. The teams would exchange buckets until the end of the quarter with the score 82-81 in the Jam’s favor.
The teams would continue to go back and forth early in the fourth quarter. Butch converted on a three point play off a post move followed by an Ahearn three pointer to keep the game close. Then the Jam made a run with an Osiris Eldridge fast break layup followed by Mustapha Farrakhan steal and breakaway layup. The Jam finished the Bighorns out with a Butch three pointer to extend the lead to 114-106 with forty seconds to go in the game.
A full box score of the game can be found at: http://www.nba.com/dleague/games/20111126/RNOBAK/gameinfo.html?ls=gt2hp2021100013#nbaGIboxscore
The Bighorns next game is Monday, November 28 in Los Angeles against the D-Fenders. The team returns to Reno on December 2nd for their home opener against the Jam at the Reno Events Center.