Game Review: Iowa Energy 116, Erie BayHawks 111

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Of the nine meetings this season between Erie and Iowa (all Erie losses), this was probably the most entertaining yet (and I'm not just saying that because I had a courtside view of this one). The teams combined for 227 points after averaging 185 points in the first eight matchups.

The Energy jumped out to an early lead, and finished the first quarter up 34-20, which had everyone thinking "here we go again." Mike Gansey drained three 3-pointers while Cedric Jackson attacked the rim relentlessly, bringing the BayHawks within one point before Iowa closed the half strong to lead 64-57.

Iowa started the second half as they started the game and reestablished a double-digit lead, but Erie would not go away. Another 3 from Gansey and one from Manuel helped chip away at the lead. Then, Cedric Jackson stole a pass and raced downcourt for the jam to tie the game at 84 with less than two minutes left in the third quarter. Moments later, the BayHawks took their first lead of the game at 86-85 as Cedric Jackson scored on another fearless drive that sent him crashing to the floor. The lead lasted just 5 seconds as Iowa took advantage of Jackson being down, pushed the pace and found Pat Carroll, who hit a 3 to put Iowa back up 88-86 at the end of the third.

The BayHawks gained momentum early in the fourth, retaking the lead and extending it to 100-92 on a tough fallaway foul line jumper from Blake Ahearn. The lead was still 6 points with 3:06 left to play, and it looked like the BayHawks might finally break through with their first win in nine tries against the Energy this season, but Iowa had one last push left in them and Erie went cold.

With the game tied at 108, Iowa played volleyball under the rim until Mark Tyndale finally scored underneath and gave Iowa its first lead since the start of the fourth quarter. Tyndale then applied fullcourt pressure to Cedric Jackson and drew the charge with an exaggerated fall as Jackson pushed off to try to get open. Tyndale hit one of two free throws to put Iowa up 113-110. Cedric Jackson then drew a foul at the other end and hit 1 of 2 to bring Erie within 2 with 32 seconds, but Jeff Trepagnier hit a dagger 3 with 17 seconds left to seal the victory for the Energy.

It was a crushing loss for the BayHawks. They led for 9:19 of the fourth quarter, but couldn't make the plays down the stretch to close out the win.

A quick look at how the BayHawks fared in terms of my 3 keys to success from my preview post:

  • Work the offense from the outside in.
    They shot 8-21 from 3 (38.1 percent), which is an improvement from their season average but not by much. They did, however, ride the hot hand of Mike Gansey in the second quarter as he hit three triples that spearheaded their comeback. Also, while the shots weren't falling at an extremely high rate, the 3-point shooting did produce the other effect I wrote about by spacing the floor and opening up lanes for Cedric Jackson to penetrate.

  • Keep Bryant out of foul trouble.
    While he did eventually foul out, he spaced his 6 fouls out pretty well and managed to play 35 minutes. The problem is that he had no answer for Earl Barron on the night as the Energy center had a banner night with 35 points and 24 rebounds (6 offensive).

  • The pride factor.
    I'm not a big believer in moral victories. This loss hurt like all the others, but I was glad to see the way this team was competing in the fourth quarter. Execution was lacking in some areas down the stretch but the effort was definitely there. In the brief interaction I had with Gansey right after the game, his frustration was palpable. I'm pretty sure was a game the team felt they could have and should have won. And Gansey made it very clear that they're going to do whatever it takes to win the rematch tonight and avoid an 0-10 mark for the season.
There are several individual performances worth noting from this game:

  • We'll start with my co-MVPs of the game: Cedric Jackson and Mike Gansey. Jackson is reportedly nursing bruised ribs, but you'd never know it from the way he plays. I would have loved to see a shot chart from his game because I think it would look like a mass of dots around the basket. I tweeted that he was taking it to the hole like a young A.I. He spent a lot of time on the ground and probably picked up a few more bruises along the way, but he earned every one of his 30 points, which came on 9-17 shooting (11-15 from the free throw line). He also added 11 rebounds, 8 assists (6 turnovers), and 6 steals. Meanwhile Gansey had 24 on 9-16 shooting, including 4-7 from 3 to go along with 8 rebounds.

  • John Bryant also scored 24 points on 9-15 shooting. He had just 7 rebounds but an impressive 5 blocks. The biggest issue for him was on the defensive end dealing with the activity and athleticism of Earl Barron.

  • Blake Ahearn's debut wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible either. He got the start in the backcourt with Cedric Jackson as Erie went smallball with Gansey and Jackie Manuel at forward to start alongside Bryant. Ahearn's final statline: 13 points on 3-10 shooting (2-7 from 3) with 3 assists and 2 turnovers in 32 minutes. His reputation as a dead-eye free throw shooter preceded him, earning him the right to shoot the technical free throw on an illegal defense call. He made it and all five of his free throw attempts on the night.
Other miscellaneous team/game notes:

  • Neither team relied much on their bench in this one. Ivan Harris got 37 minutes as the sixth man, but the rest of Erie's reserves played just 12 minutes. Iowa got 27 quality minutes from Mark Tyndale, and that was about it.

  • Aside from Earl Barron, Jeff Trepagnier's performance stood out for the Energy. The veteran gunner scored 22 points on 7-14 shooting, but it was his two clutch 3s in the final three minutes that helped the Energy pull off the late comeback.

  • I'm not usually one to comment on the officiating. In fact, I'm not sure I've written anything about the officiating yet this season. If I have, it's been very little because, for the most part, I think they've been just fine. But last night the crew of Scott Bolnick, George McDaniels, and Janetta Graham struggled. There were at least three or four instances when they needed to huddle after making a call to discuss what just happened with a couple of the calls being reversed and several other calls that just seemed incorrect. Obviously I'm biased, but I'd love to see the video tape and check out some of those calls again.

  • The BayHawks and Energy meet for the 10th and final time tonight. Things will get underway in Erie at 7 p.m. As always, you can catch the live streaming action with FutureCast.


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About this blog/blogger

Blog Talk BayHawk is an unofficial Erie BayHawks blog covering the NBA D-League. It features opinions and information about the NBADL and the Erie BayHawks. Blog Talk BayHawk is written from a basketball fan’s perspective to fill In the gaps left by professional journalists’ coverage of BayHawks basketball and the Erie professional basketball scene.

Matt Hubert is a 25-year-old writer and basketball fanatic born and raised in Erie, Pa. He graduated from Mercyhurst College in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in English and a dual concentration in writing and creative writing. Matt's not wavering from his stance as a lifelong Los Angeles Lakers fan, but he will cover the BayHawks' NBA affiliates in Cleveland and Toronto when it makes sense to do so throughout the year.

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