In a game where the Bakersfield Jam (22-9) would take several double-digit leads and never trail in the contest, it remained competitive as Maine would make runs to draw close. But Bakersfield would always have an answer, and would extend it right back in holding off the Red Claws 119-111 Friday night in Bakersfield.
The biggest answer Bakersfield had was Jerel McNeal, who finished with 28 points, dished out eight assists, and pulled down seven rebounds to lead the team to a league best record, as well as a five game winning streak.
The Jam shot 62% from the field and led by 10 points, before settling to a 34-30 lead to end the first period. Bakersfield ended the game with 24 turnovers (15 Maine steals), and it was probably the biggest factor in not being able to sustain the leads they built up. But they were able to dominate the rebounding with a 56-37 advantage, and were able to finish with a 19-6 edge in fast-break points.
In what was the theme of the night, Bakersfield led by as many as 15 points in the third, and 14 in the fourth before settling for the six point victory. Also in the second half, the game seemed to get out of control for the officials, as they issued a total of 11 technical fouls, and ejected four players.
Providing ample support in the Jam victory, Damion James finished with 22 points, nine rebounds and three steals, while Renaldo Major scored 20, and Adam Koch tallied 13. Brian Butch also chipped in with a game-high 18 rebounds.
Shelvin Mack led the Maine attack with a game-high 36 points, 10 assists, and three steals. Micah Downs had 16, DaJuan Summers scored 12, and Jeremiah Rivers finished with 11 off the bench.
The Jam will next face the Los Angeles D-Fenders on Saturday, February 23 at the Dignity Health Events Center in Bakersfield.
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