Bighorns Punch Their Ticket to the Playoffs with Win Over SLC
The Reno Bighorns (28-21) defeated the Salt Lake City Stars (16-34) 123-106 Friday night at Lifetime Activities Center. With tonight’s victory, the Bighorns clinched their first playoff berth since the 2015-16 season.
Matt Jones led the Bighorns with 33 points while Jakarr Sampson had 26 points and six rebounds. Jack Cooley recorded his 21st double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
Naz Mitrou-Long paced the Stars with 21 points and four rebounds while Isaiah Cousins had 21 points, four rebounds and eight assists.
The Stars took an early 21-13 lead by the midway point of the first frame before a triple from Sampson spurred a 14-4 run for the Bighorns to hold a two-point edge over the Stars entering the second frame.
The Bighorns used the second quarter to find separation from the Stars, outscoring the hosts 31-17. Reno expanded their lead to as many as 20 points in the frame behind a 48.0% shooting effort. The visitors went into the locker room with a 16-point cushion.
Reno continued to execute their offense in the third quarter, opening the frame on a 25-11 run building their advantage to 30 points by the 5:50 mark. The Stars chipped away at their deficit cutting it to 17 points with 1:32 to play in the quarter. Salt Lake kept Reno scoreless the remainder of the quarter to trail by 13 heading into the final frame.
The Bighorns kept the Stars at bay with a double-digit lead the remainder of play behind Jones’ 18 points in the fourth quarter to secure a 123-106 victory.
The Bighorns will travel to Santa Cruz to face the Warriors on Saturday, Mar. 24 at 7 p.m. PDT