While the talent and excitement on display at an Austin Toros game might be one of Austin’s best kept secrets, the almost 2,000 fans that turned out for Wednesday night’s contest against the Bakersfield Jam certainly got their money’s worth. The high-powered combination of Trey Johnson and the Bakersfield Jam put up quite the fight, but the home team Austin Toros were victorious. After a game with fourteen lead changes, it was the Toros that came out on top with a final score of 103-99.
The Toros got on the scoreboard with an easy layup by Lance Thomas but the Jam held the lead for most of the quarter. Bakersfield’s Trey Johnson showed why he was named NBA D-League Player of the Week last week and put up 12 points in the opening quarter to give the Jam a 27-26 lead. Austin’s Lance Thomas led the Toros in scoring with 6 points for the first, but cooled off in the second and was held scoreless in the period before the half.
Although at one point the Toros jumped out to a 50-40 lead over the Jam during the second, the visitors battled back and closed the gap before the break. The Toros were not without some flashy moves of their own though, as Garrett Williamson scored the buzzer beater for the home team from mid-court to tie the score at 53 at the half. The key to the Jam’s success in the first half was beating the Toros to the boards for rebounds and scoring on second-chance points. The Jam tallied 15 second-chance points to the Toros 8. However, it was the Toros proficiency from the 3-point range that kept it close, with the team hitting 7 of 10 from beyond the arch.
After the break, it was more of the same at Cedar Park Center as Jam’s leading scorer Trey Johnson kept taking it to the net for the visiting team. Johnson scored 15 during the third period. The Toros had a much more balanced scoring attack, but leaned heavily on Cardell “Squeaky” Johnson who added 7 to their tally. Austin ended the third with another exciting play – this time a dunk by Marcus Cousin after a sweet low pass from Kevin Palmer of the Toros.
Lewis Clinch is becoming known for being clutch in the fourth quarter and this game was no exception. Clinch scored 9 points in the final quarter for a game total of 16. Kevin Palmer also came up big for the Toros with 12 of his 19 points coming in the fourth quarter. Bakersfield fought up until the final seconds though and forced “Squeaky” Johnson out of the game with his sixth personal foul. The Jam’s Trey Johnson scored a season-high 43 points on the night, but it wasn’t enough to stop the balanced offensive plan of the Toros and they sealed the deal with two buckets from the free throw line for Kevin Palmer to put the game away 103-99.
The Austin Toros are now 3-1 at home and will play their next game on Sunday, December 19th at home against the Reno Bighorns.