RENO, NEV.— The Reno Bighorns newly acquired guard Blake Ahearn had 26 points and 6 assists but the Bighorns dropped their season opener to the Bakersfield Jam, 122-97 .The Jam were led by Brian Butch with 28 points and 14 rebounds and Osiris Eldridge with 22 points. Nick Fazekas added 21 points and 9 rebounds for the Bighorns.
The Bighorns came out on a 6-0 run to start the game and took a 10 point lead after consecutive field goals from Ahearn and Chris Matthews with 4:51 to go in the first quarter. The team shot 62 percent from the field and led 39-29 to end the quarter. Ahearn led the Bighorns in the quarter with 12 points and 4 assists.
The Jam came back quickly led by Renaldo Major and Eldridge. First, Eldridge cut the lead to 5 points with a crafty jump shot with 9:30 to left in the half. Then Major made two free throws with 6:15 minutes to go in the half to take the 49-48 lead. When the Bighorns started to regain momentum, Eldridge used an emphatic dunk with 3:45 to go that ignited the Jam into halftime.
To start the third quarter, the Bighorns cut the lead to 8 points but the fast paced offense of the Jam proved to be too much. Again, Eldridge scored a big dunk followed by an easy layup from Justin Graham to take a 14 point lead with 5:50 minutes to go in the quarter. They finished out the quarter with 94-78 lead.
The fourth quarter was much of the same story when the Jam seemingly scored at will on the fast break to finish out the game.
The Bighorns next game is Saturday, November 26 in Bakersfield. The team returns to Reno on December 2 for their home opener against the Jam at the Reno Events Center.