The Reno Bighorns (11-21) fell to the Erie BayHawks (10-22) 108-104 Thursday night at the Erie Insurance Arena.
Gary Neal led the Bighorns in his first contest with the team with 27 points while Reggie Hearn scored 17 points and grabbed six rebounds. Kadeem Jack followed Hearn closely netting 16 points and adding two assists.
Kalin Lucas paced the BayHawks with 24 points, seven rebounds and seven assists while TJ Price added 17 points and two rebounds.
The opening frame was a close battle, though the BayHawks held the edge through the entirety of the frame, the Bighorns would go into the second frame trailing by two.
A triple by Renaldo Major in the opening minutes of the second frame gave the Bighorns a one-point advantage before the BayHawks would retake control of the lead, going on a 16-5 run, running up a 16-point advantage by the 5:53 mark. The Bighorns chipped away at their deficit behind a 14-3 run to come within three points at the 2:00 mark. Erie kept the Bighorns scoreless the final munites of the first half to hold a 54-42 lead at the half.
The Bighorns came out of the locker room going on a 16-4 run behind two triples from Hearn tying the game at 58 at the mid-way point of the third quarter. The teams battled to control the lead, exchanging the lead five times and tying five times in the final six minutes of the frame. The Bighorns outscored the BayHawks 33-20 in the quarter holding a 75-74 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The head-to-head battle carried through to a fast paced, tightly contested play final frame in which neither team led by more than four points. The teams exchanged the lead 16 times and tied a total of five times in 11 minutes. The Bighorns held the upper hand on the BayHawks at the 1:19 mark holding a 104-102 lead until Lucas sank a three to retake control of the lead. Despite Neal scoring 17 of his 27 points in the final frame, the BayHawks would not relinquish the lead.
The Bighorns will next travel to North Carolina to face the Greensboro Swarm on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 11 a.m.