The Erie BayHawks won their season-high fifth consecutive game with a 111-101 victory over the Utah Flash on Monday night. The win, which improved the BayHawks to 18-25 on the year, also completed a perfect three-games-in-four-days road trip out West.
The Flash, who entered the game holding onto the eighth and final playoff spot, gave the BayHawks all they could handle in this one. The teams battled in an entertaining, back-and-forth game that featured 24 lead changes and 12 ties. Through the first 10 minutes of the fourth quarter, neither team led by more than three points. But the BayHawks closed the final three minutes on a 15-6 run to earn the victory.
The crucial sequence started with about two and a half minutes remaining in the game when Blake Ahearn found Michael Sweetney on a beautiful pick 'n roll. Sweetney slammed it home to put Erie up 98-95. Bennet Davis missed a shot at the other end. Mike Gansey grabbed the initial rebound, then had it poked away. Eventually Erie recovered and found John Bryant under the basket at the other end. He pumped, double-clutched, and scored the bucket plus the foul to extend Erie's lead to 101-95. On Erie's next offensive possession, Blake Ahearn hit a 3 from 35+ feet that put the nail in the coffin of the Flash.
- Ahearn had a tremendous game. He scored a season-high 38 points (12-22 FG, 3-6 from 3, 11-11 FT), 9 assists, and 5 rebounds in 46 minutes.
- His tag team partner in the backcourt was on fire as well. Mike Gansey continued his March Madness memorial tour, scoring 33 points (12-17 FG, 4-6 from 3, 5-6 FT) with 7 rebounds and 4 steals.
- Speaking of tag teams, John Bryant and Michael Sweetney finished the game on the court together, but for most of the game they rotated in and out for one another. Together, they accounted for 33 points and 17 rebounds while shooting 48 percent from the field.
- In case you haven't done the math, that accounts for all but 7 of Erie's points. Ivan Harris had 4 and Cliff Clinkscales had 3 on a big 3 that he hit to give Erie its first lead of the fourth quarter.
- Jackie Manuel and Frank Tolbert did not play.
- The BayHawks shot well in this one: 41-78 (52 percent) from the field, 8-16 (50 percent) from 3, and 21-25 (84 percent) from the free throw line. On the flipside, Utah shot 38-85 (44.7 percent) from the field, 6-20 (30 percent) from 3, and 19-28 (67.9 percent) from the free throw line.
The Flash, 22-20, next travel to Los Angeles for a game on Friday night.