The Erie BayHawks blew a 16-point halftime lead, but beat the Sioux Falls Skyforce, 109-107, Saturday as they head into their home opener Saturday, Dec. 12, against the expansion Maine Red Claws at Tullio Arena with a 2-2 record.
Leemire Goldwire had a chance to win the game for the Skyforce (2-2), but missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer after Erie center John Bryant missed a pair of free throws with 4.1 seconds remaining in overtime.
Erie had a chance to win the game in regulation, but turned the ball over on its final possession of the fourth quarter. In overtime, the BayHawks went on a 7-0 run to sparked by Cedric Jackson, who gave the BayHawks the lead for good with a jumper and 3-pointer to build a 104-99 lead for Erie.
Then Bryant, who finished with a career-high 29 points and 16 rebounds, scored Erie’s next five points as the BayHawks kept their lead at six points, 109-103, before Fort Wayne trimmed it to two.
The BayHawks have blown double-digit leads in each of their four games. They can’t let that trend continue against Maine (3-1), an expansion team that has won its last three games after losing the opener. The Red Claws beat another expansion team, Springfield, 115-89 Saturday night.
The Red Claws have two players from their NBA affiliates in forward Bill Walker (Boston Celtics) and 7-foot center Alexis Ajinca (Charlotte Bobcats) and have recently added forward Trey Gilder, who after helping Colorado win the 2009 D-League title was with the Memphis Grizzlies, and guard Mario West, who played for the Atlanta Hawks before getting waived Oct. 22.
In other words, they’re loaded. Erie will have its hands full with them if all those pieces are there next Saturday when the BayHawks play their home opener Dec. 12 against the Red Claws.