OREM A last-second 3-point attempt in overtime by Dontell Jefferson fell short as the Utah Flash dropped their home opener 102-100 to Bakersfield Monday.
Jefferson's missed shot finished off a back-and-forth overtime contest that featured 13 ties and 17 lead changes. Jefferson scored 25 points in the losing effort on 10-for-17 shooting for the Flash (1-2), including 4-for-6 from behind the 3-point stripe. J. R. Giddens led all scorers with 34 points for Utah on 11-for-15 shooting from the field and an 11-for-14 clip from the free-throw line.
"Dontell was terrific," Flash coach Brad Jones said. "He really came out in the third quarter and ... he got in the zone there. And we were trying to get him some opportunities to look at the basket and the thing is he made some."
Things looked good for the Flash to start the overtime period when Utah held the Jam scoreless for the first 2:30 with some solid defense, including a steal and a block from Giddens. Bill Walker gave the Flash a 98-96 lead to break the tie in overtime, but the Jam outscored the Flash 6-2 the rest the way capped by a soaring one-handed, coast-to-coast dunk by DeMarcus Nelson with 1:18 to play.
"Bakersfield is a very good basketball team," Jones said. "They've got a lot of veterans and they know how to play the game."
With the Flash trailing 96-93, Giddens converted the second of two free throws to pull Utah within two with 35 seconds to go. Then, when the next Bakersfield possession ended on a turnover with the clock down to 15 seconds, Jefferson took the ball coast to coast and kissed a floater off the glass to tie things up at 96 and send the game to overtime.
"Obviously the shot to send it to overtime was exactly what we wanted," Jones said. "That's why we called the play for him to get in the paint and try to make something happen. In the overtime we had the same thing, this time it didn't go down."
A 9-4 Jam run to start the fourth quarter, including a steal and a huge one-handed, fast-break dunk by Jeff Trepagnier, helped Bakersfield go up 86-84 with 7:16 to play. A Giddens jumper with the shot clock expiring at the 6:39 mark, however, tied things back up at 86.
Trepagnier tied the game up for the Jam 84-84 when the Bakersfield guard followed up a steal with a dunk and a free throw at the 8:52 mark in the fourth quarter.
"I thought we had a lot of wasteful possessions in the fourth quarter and that's the absolute time you can't have them against a good team," Jones said. The Flash finished the game with 29 turnovers which led to 22 Bakersfield points.
After trailing by seven, Utah used a 15-6 run to start the second half, and the Flash tied the game at 60-60 when Walker followed up his own miss with a two-handed dunk at the 8:18 mark in the third. After a steal by Jefferson on the defensive end, Walker then put the Flash up 62-60 on a reverse dunk following a hard baseline drive.
Trailing by 10 in the second quarter, the Flash used a 10-0 run over a two-minute span to even things up at 42-42.
Next up for Utah is a Friday matchup with the Reno Bighorns at 7 p.m.
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