Game Review: Sioux Falls Skyforce 93, Erie BayHawks 116

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I don't know if the BayHawks have a roster full of morning people or just a collection of players who really care about the children, but Erie put a whopping on Sioux Falls earlier today in the 2nd annual School Kids Jam, which meant an 11 a.m. tipoff and more than 4,000 screaming kids packing the arena. Erie's 116-93 win snapped a nine-game winning streak for the Skyforce.

As expected with the early tip time, both teams started off a bit sluggish. They traded baskets for much of the first quarter with neither team leading by more than 5 until the final minute when Erie closed on a 7-2 run, capped off by a Blake Ahearn 3 at the buzzer. Despite being without both Cedric Jackson (called up by the San Antonio Spurs) and Jackie Manuel (out with the flu), the BayHawks' offense continued its recent success, scoring at least 25 points in each quarter en route to its third straight game of more than 100 points (or, as the Erie fans know it, three straight vouchers for free fries from McDonalds!)

Erie built the lead to 14 at the half and Sioux Falls would never get any closer the rest of the way. Erie spent the second half resting comfortably with the lead growing as big as 24. The Skyforce cut it down to 14 again late in the fourth, but the BayHawks had an answer every time and cruised to a convincing 23-point victory in front of a jubilant bunch of youngsters.

Player notes
Aside from 9 minutes of Cliff Clinkscales, who was scoreless with 2 points and 2 rebounds, the BayHawks essentially won this game (easily!) with just six players. And again, I feel I need to reiterate that neither Cedric Jackson nor Jackie Manuel were in uniform.

Before I get to the regulars, let me call attention to Kyle Goldcamp and Jarvis Gunter, who were both instrumental in today's win. . Playing behind John Bryant and Alade Aminu most of the year, neither player has had a lot of playing time, but they made the most of their opportunity today. It was just a little over a month ago that Goldcamp was released by the BayHawks for medical reasons. Today a healthy Goldcamp made his first career start and came through with arguably his best performance of the season. His statline was solid 12 points on 6-11 shooting, 7 rebounds in 27 minutes, but it was his energy, hustle, defense, and physical play (yes, he earned another 5 fouls for his efforts) that made the biggest impact by neutralizing the effectiveness of the Skyforce's fron line.

Similarly, Gunter came off the bench to spark the team defensively and managed to contribute on the other end as well. A pair of dunks highlighted his 15-point performance (on 6-8 shooting, 3-3 from the free throw line), and he also grabbed 13 rebounds in his 30 minutes on the court.

With the departure of Jackson and absence of Manuel, the recent smallball craze was not in the cards for the BayHawks, but that didn't stop the starting guards from producing. Something tells me Mike Gansey really likes playing basketball in the month of March. His hot start to the month continued as he tied for the team-high with 24 points, including 3-8 from 3-point range to go along with 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 dunk (see the :48 mark of the embedded video highlights atop this post.)

Meanwhile, the newest BayHawk, Blake Ahearn had a ridiculous statline. He went 8-8 from the free throw line to extend his streak as a BayHawk to 22 straight made free throws. He also dished out 15 assists. As for his shooting from the field? He was 4-7 from 3 and 0-10 from everywhere else for 20 points in all. Go figure.

The only two BayHawks I've yet to mention are John Bryant and Ivan Harris, both of whom had the jump shot flowing today. Bryant tied for a game-high with 24 points on 11-18 shooting with most of his success coming via his patented top of the key jumper. Harris was one of two BayHawks that played all 48 minutes (Gansey was the other). Harris scored 21 on 9-15 shooting, including 3-5 from downtown (see what happens when you take 3s and avoid the Ivans!).

Game notes
Defensively, Erie heeded my advice and honed in on Alexander Johnson, forcing the reigning D-League Performer of the Week to earn every point. He was just 2-5 from the field, in no small part because he went to the line for 18 free throw attempts, where he converted 13.

From the field, Erie was just slightly better shooting than Sioux Falls at 48.9 percent compared to 43,2 percent. The difference really showed up beyond the arc where Erie was 10-21 (47.6 percent) and Sioux Falls was 0-8 and at the free throw line where Erie was a perfect 16-16 and Sioux Falls was just 23-34 (67.6 percent).

With the win, the BayHawks improve to 15-25. The Skyforce falls to 24-16. Up next for the BayHawks is a major West Conference road trip. They will play in three cities in four nights all against teams they've yet to play this season. First, they'll take on the Albuquerque Thunderbirds on Friday night, followed by the Idaho Stampede on Saturday, and the Utah Flash on Monday.


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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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