Two games last night, featuring two teams that started out just terribly. One recovered somewhat before falling again, and the other was the Bakersfield Jam.
Iowa Energy 102, Fort Wayne Mad Ants 95
Iowa got an early jump on this one thanks to a bevy of Mad Ants turnovers. Seven in the first seven minutes, 13 in the first half, 22 overall. Curtis Stinson had 10 of his 14 assists and Earl Barron had eight of his 14 rebounds in the first half. Nine of those 14 total rebounds for Barron came on the offensive end as well, so it wasn't like he was just grabbing Fort Wayne's misses. Rob Kurz played (or at least shot the ball) very well for the Mad Ants, shooting 9-10 in the first half before cooling off in the second and eventually fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Other than Kurz, let's see...Sean Sonderleiter rebounded pretty well (he had seven), but he didn't have a good offensive night and turned the ball over six times. Anthony Kent also rebounded well (also seven) but needed five shots to get five points. Oliver Lafayette had six assists off the bench, but otherwise had a pretty gross game. Fort Wayne fought hard, they played decently after the first quarter ended and they even tied the game up at 89 with four minutes left in the game, but then Kurz fouled out and there went their best offensive weapon. It didn't help either that two of Kyle McAlarney's four turnovers came with less than two minutes to go.
Believe it or not, I've already mentioned most of their positives. Jeff Trepagnier was virtually unstoppable early before cooling off to score 20 points on 15 shots with four steals. Barron added 20 points to all those rebounds, and Pat Carroll hit some timely threes. Other than that, though, Stinson shot 9-20, Mark Tyndale was 3-8 and went only 3-7 from the free-throw line, Rashad Anderson also shot 3-8 and went 1-5 on threes, and Marvin Phillips had 12 rebounds but also four turnovers and needed eight shots to get seven points. Fort Wayne really could've had this one if not for that blundering first quarter.
Utah Flash 112, Bakersfield Jam 92
Unlike the Mad Ants, Bakersfield never really came close in this one. Utah was one of the most efficient offensive teams in the league last year, and it looks like they're doing it again this season, shooting 50.6 percent on all field goals, 47.4 percent on threes and 78 percent from the line. They also mostly kept their turnovers in check; Dontell Jefferson had three in the first seven minutes, then settled down and had only one more the rest of the game. He also finished with 16 points (helped by 8-10 free-throw shooting), 12 assists and five rebounds. Orien Greene had another nice game with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists, though he also had four turnovers. Bennet Davis was very good, 14 points on 5-9 shooting, nine rebounds, four assists and two blocks, and Andre Ingram hit five of his eight threes on the way to 23 points.
Reece Gaines actually played pretty well for the Jam, with 18 points on nine shots and six assists. New acquisition John Williams took a little while to get warmed up but hit three of his six threes and finished with 13 points. Other than that, though, Terrance Gamble was overmatched starting in placed of Robert Swift and had just three points and three rebounds in 18 minutes, while backup Tyrelle Blair had eight rebounds and two blocks but just four points. If there is a way for this game to be any worse, it's with Swift leaving the team earlier in the day to go back to Seattle on a "family issue." No idea what it's about, and the Jam gave no indication that they knew when/if he would be back, only that he would be gone "possibly for some time." Happy Home Opener, Bakersfield.