The Bakersfield Jam (7-5) and Reno Bighorns (6-6) met for the fourth time this year, and the Jam won all three of the previous meetings. This time was different, way different, as the Bighorns went from a 66-60 halftime lead to a 108-81 advantage after the third period. At that point and in that quarter, the game was basically over, as Reno shot 75%, outscored the Jam 42-21, and were never threatened thereafter, cruising to a convincing 139-114 victory in Bakersfield.
There was not much for the local fans to cheer about at the Jam Events Center Thursday night. Newly acquired guard Jeremy Hazell had a very auspicious debut for the Jam. The 6-5 shooting guard from Seton Hall came off the bench, played 21:51 minutes, scored 25 points on 7-9 shooting (4-6 from the 3-point line), grabbed three rebounds, had three assists, and managed three steals while committing only one turnover. After only one practice with the club, he seemed to be very comfortable in his new surroundings.
Bakersfield had no answer for the Reno backcourt duo of Andre Emmett (35 points) and Blake Ahearn (39), who seemingly scored at will, while shooting a combined 27-33 from the field, including 7-9 from the 3-point line. The two also combined to dish out 20 assists, so they impacted 114 of Reno’s 139 total points. Needless to say, they had more than a little to do with what transpired against the Jam.
The game was close in the first period, as the Jam led 34-33 after one, but Reno started to take control of the game in the second quarter, and never looked back. In the third period, the game essentially got away from the Jam, and the only thing left to be determined was the final score.
Besides the breakout debut by Hazzel, Bakersfield also had four others score in double figures. Osiris Eldridge had 17 points and seven assists, Renaldo Major had 16 with six rebounds, Juan Pattillo 11 (off the bench), and Jeremy Wise 12, with five rebounds and seven assists in his first start of the season.
For the Bighorns, their backcourt combo also got help from Terrance Thomas, who contributed a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Adrian Oliver added 14 off the bench.
The two teams will go at it again Friday night at the Jam Events Center in Bakersfield, with the Jam now leading the season series 3-1.
On a side note, please subscribe to this column and stay updated on all future articles by hitting the subscribe link on this page (next to the profile), it’s free and holds no obligations.