ERIE, PA– For the first time this season, the South Bay Lakers lost consecutive games as they fell to the Erie BayHawks, 103-100 (box score), on Thursday night. The Lakers (12-6) were led by 23 points from Vander Blue and double-doubles from Stephaun Branch (18 points, 14 rebounds) and Scott Machado (15 points, 12 assists), but could not find enough production off the bench as they fell to 0-2 on their current road trip. Erie (7-11) was guided by Hawks-assignee Tyler Dorsey, who scored 34 points, including 5-10 from behind the arc.
South Bay held a slight lead after the first, 26-22, as Blue and Demarcus Holland combined for 14 points, while Branch, starting for the ill Travis Wear, pitched in five points, five rebounds and two assists in the opening quarter. South Bay was outscored by eight in the second quarter as Erie grabbed a 57-53 lead at halftime. The BayHawks were led by 14 first half points from Jeremy Evans and 12 from Mike Muscala. Blue scored 11 points in the half to keep South Bay close.
The Lakers regained the lead through three, 86-81, behind a combined 15 points from Blue and Branch, but the fourth quarter was all Erie. Dorsey outscored the Lakers himself as he tallied 17 points in the fourth compared to just 14 points total from South Bay. The Lakers had a chance to send the game to overtime, but a three point attempt by Branch at the buzzer was off target as the BayHawks grabbed the victory.
Dorsey’s big night (34 points, four rebounds, four steals) led the way for Erie while Evans (16 points, five rebounds), Jaylen Morris (16 points, five rebounds) and Muscala (12 points) also scored in double figures for the BayHawks. In his first game against his former team, Josh Magette nearly grabbed a double-double with nine points and 10 assists.
Blue was the high scorer for South Bay (23 points, five rebounds, three assists) and Branch grabbed the first double-double of his career (18 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, four steals), but the Lakers turned it over 26 times and only had 15 points off the bench in the losing effort. Machado’s double-double, Holland’s career-high 16 points and Ivica Zubac’s 13 points rounded out South Bay’s double-digit scorers.
The South Bay Lakers will tackle the second end of their back-to-back when they face the Canton Charge tomorrow at 4:00 from the Canton Memorial Civic Center.
The NBA G League’s South Bay Lakers, the first franchise in G League history to be owned by an NBA team (Los Angeles Lakers), returns for its 11th season of competition in 2017-18. The Lakers franchise has established itself as a top producer of NBA-ready talent, totaling 26 NBA Call-Ups and developing 19 Lakers assignment players since the inaugural 2006-07 season. Last season, the Lakers returned to the playoffs for the third time in the last four years and produced the league MVP in guard Vander Blue. The Lakers have claimed three division titles and have twice competed in the NBA G League Finals, most recently in 2015-16.