The Buzzsaw got revenge after a 57-39 loss to the Slashers in the Main Event on Friday night with a 50-41 victory in the rematch on Saturday. The Buzzsaw downed the winless Lava, 32-29, to open the evening. The Buzzsaw’s offense was fueled by Jamaal Barnes Jr. (Los Angeles, Calif.), who racked up 38 points in the two wins, while the teams’ defense was led by Tyquan Scott (Long Beach, N.Y.), who was credited with 15 stops and 20 loose ball recoveries during the session.
Game 1 – Buzzsaw 32, Lava 29
The misery continues for the hard-luck Lava, who keep inventing new ways to lose close games. This meltdown will sting for a long time. The Lava led by 15 points at halftime, but were outscored 20-2 in the final two quarters, dropping to 0-4 with a last-second 32-29 loss to the Buzzsaw. A dunk by the Buzzsaw’s Ralph Bellamy (St. Louis, Mo.) knotted the score at 29 with 25 seconds left. Tyquan Scott’s steal on the following Lava possession set the stage for Jamaal Barnes Jr.’s thunderous game-winning slam with 10.8 seconds showing on the clock. A pair of desperation heaves by the Lava misfired, and the Buzzsaw escaped with one of the most unlikely victories of the season. Barnes paced the Buzzsaw with 18 points, while Scott finished with five stops, 11 loose ball recoveries and one very important steal. Playing without leading scorer Bryce Moragne (ankle), Jihad Shockley (Columbus, Ohio) led the Lava with 11 points, while Faysal Shafaat (Orlando, Fla.) contributed a season-high 13 stops. All four of the Lava’s losses have been by four points or fewer. The 61 total points in the game were the fewest this season.
Game 2 – Slashers 67, Gryphons 50
In Saturday’s second matchup, the Slashers rebounded from a sluggish start to put away the Gryphons, 67-50, for their third straight victory. The Gryphons jumped out to an early 12-0 lead but the Slashers answered with 16 straight points. Propelled by another gravity-defying dunkfest by Tony Crosby II (Long Beach, Calif.), the Slashers outscored the Gryphons 39-18 in the second half. Crosby was too much for the Gryphs, notching season highs with 27 points and nine dunks. Slashers stopper Amir Smith (Missouri City, Tex.) was all over the court, chipping in nine points, eight stops and nine LBRs. Justin Holmes (Roseville, Calif.) had a team-most 16 points for the Gryphs, who fell to 1-4.
Main Event – Buzzsaw 50, Slashers 41
For the second straight night, the Buzzsaw and Slashers battled in the Main Event. The result this time would be different with the Buzzsaw posting a 50-41 victory, snapping the Slashers’ three-game winning streak. There was plenty of drama in the final minute. With 55 seconds remaining, Tony Crosby II threw down his 13th dunk of the session, putting the Slashers within six points at 47-41. But Ralph Bellamy quickly answered with a slam of his own at :38, effectively putting the game on ice. Behind 20 points from Jamaal Barnes Jr. and a 10-stop, nine-LBR effort from Tyquan Scott, the Buzzsaw improved to 6-2, matching the 6-0 Mob for the most wins this season. Moving up from his stopper position for much of the game, Amir Smith tallied a season-high 17 points for the Slashers while Crosby added 12.
“After last night, we knew what we had to fix it and what we had to correct, so we just came out here and did what we had to do,” Barnes said. “It sets up for the rest of the year. We’re 6-2 now and in second place. We are really looking forward to the next time we play the Mob so we can give them their first loss. But we’re just taking them as they come. That’s our model.”
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