Bakersfield Jam 116, RIo Grande Valley Vipers 114 (Box Score)
- I only caught the third quarter of this game, which was ugly ugly ugly, but apparently there was an exciting finish. Despite being outscored by 20 points in that third frame, the Jam were able to come back and win on a Trey Johnson buzzer beater.
- Trey Johnson, you'll remember, played with the Jam last season and expressed a desire to play point guard this year when he returned from Europe. I was mildly skeptical, not because he's untalented, but because he had primarily been a scorer up to this point in his career. Johnson finished with 20 points, sure, but he also had 20 assists and an incredible two turnovers in 42 and a half minutes. So that should work.
- Johnson played so much point guard immediately because incumbent Jeremy Wise was out with some sort of eye injury. So were John Williams and Patrick Mutombo (although I don't think they had eye injuries). The Jam announcers obviously don't read RU, or talk to Trey Johnson, because they were under the impression that Johnson-at-PG was just a temporary fix. Here's hoping he at least told Will Voigt.
- The Vipers also are somewhat decimated, with what, four current NBA call-ups? Kenny Hasbrouck and Craig Winder handled scoring duties, with 29 and 28 points, respectively. The team will have to find other options, because as much as I like some of their players, Jonathan Wallace hasn't had any kind of consistency this year and Stanley Asumnu doesn't really shoot threes, which I've been led to believe is a key part of the team's offense.
- Oh yes, and Brian Butch had 18 points on nine shots and 19 rebounds. As I said, I watched the dreadful third quarter, and he didn't look good then, but I guess he had his usual good game overall. My takeaway from watching him is that he has a lot of work to do on defense to reach the NBA. He's at least a step slow on the perimeter and not very consistent guarding the paint. But, you know, 18 and 19.
Erie BayHawks 127, Iowa Energy 120 (Highlights) (Box Score)
- I actually haven't seen an Erie game in awhile, for whatever reason, so I made a point of watching a lot of this one. Overall I like their starters, but I think trading Aminu could hurt them in the long run. I'll explain in the bullets to follow.
- I really liked the combination of Cedric Jackson, Blake Ahearn and Mike Gansey. Jackson would drive and be able to kick out to either shooter, who were a combined 11-15 from outside.
- Ahearn in particularly looked comfortable playing off the ball, much more comfortable than I remember him seeming in Bakersfield (though maybe it's the system and not the position). He got into a little more trouble when he was running things; two of his turnovers (and it may have been more) came when he was trying to drive to the rim, and either had the ball stripped from him or just lost it himself.
- Kyle Goldcamp isn't a terrible player; he sets decent screens and can rebound a little bit. He's pretty foul-prone, though, and this is where I think not having Aminu could hurt the BayHawks. Goldcamp fouled out in a little over 22 minutes, which is pretty bad. And yet, he played more than John Bryant, because...
- Earl Barron was playing fantastic defense. He looked good on offense, too, with 23 points on 13 shots, and he had 10 boards, but his biggest contribution may have been shutting Bryant down. Bryant still managed to score 14 points and grab 10 boards in under 20 minutes, which are good numbers, but he needed 14 shots to get those points, and Barron really was handling him when they were on the court together.
- Cartier Martin also played very good defense, in his case on Jackie Manuel. It seems odd to praise two defensive performances in such a high scoring game, especially for the losing team, but Martin had an excellent all-around game, with 37 points on 23 shots and six rebounds to go with that defense.
Idaho Stampede 103, Albuquerque Thunderbirds 88 (Highlights) (Box Score)
- Trey Gilder, according to his pre-game/halftime interview, had been traveling since 4 am yesterday to meet up with his new team, so some slack should be cut for scoring just six points. He also grabbed five boards in less than 25 minutes off the bench, and generally looked pretty good. His low point total also comes from his teammates' inability to fully exploit the fact that Coby Karl was guarding him at times, who's probably four inches shorter than Gilder and not as quick.
- Karl and Chad Toppert also were guarding each other at times, and they're the same height and had identical haircuts. That must have been weird.
- Sasha Cuic started at center and shot 2-11 and grabbed fewer rebounds (four) than he had fouls (five). Marcus Hubbard started at power forward and shot 2-10. Shagari Alleyne was 1-3 for three points, and struggled to guard Joe Dabbert (26 points, seven boards). Like I said yesterday, they make me sad inside.
- Of Idaho's three-headed backcourt (Karl, Andre Barrett and Donell Taylor), it's Taylor who's playing the best. Last night was the first time he scored less than 17 points since early February (he had 13), and Idaho's system puts his versatility to good use - he had seven assists and six rebounds, and that kind of output has been typical. Maybe I'm giving too much away for next week, but I think the NBA should start paying attention to him again.
Utah Flash 101, Springfield Armor 89 (Highlights) (Box Score)
- This was the one game I didn't watch any of, so my apologies if the recap is lacking. In my defense, Springfield's roster right now is borrrrrrrrring. JamesOn Curry, Tony Bobbitt and Noel Felix are all out with injuries (Bobbitt actually was just placed on injury waiver), which leaves a rather ragtag lineup, but ragtag in an uninteresting way.
- You know who could've made things exciting? Justin Hawkins. Unfortunately he played just four and a half minutes in the first quarter before leaving with some kind of back injury. So much for that.
- Springfield had some guys score well, notably Tre Whitted with 22 points on 15 shots, but as a team the Armor had just 11 assists on 29 made field goals. Five of those came from Kyle McAlarney.
- Utah seems to have figured out their multiple-PG lineup, with everyone sharing the ball and picking up assists - 29 as a team, on 41 made field goals. Five Flash players had four assists or more (Kevin Kruger had five), which is nice to see.