EL SEGUNDO – In the first of a two-game series this week, the South Bay Lakers defeated the Agua Caliente Clippers, 124-121, on Tuesday night at the UCLA Health Training Center. Mason Jones led South Bay (9-2) with a game-high 30 points, matching his career-high, and Keon Johnson paced the Clippers (6-5) with 27 points.
Despite a dominant 14-point quarter for Johnson, South Bay led at the end of the first, 32-26. The Lakers started out hot from the perimeter, shooting 58.3% from three-point land in the first frame. Mac McClung and Elijah Cain led the way with two threes each in the opening quarter.
Despite trailing by as many as 10 points during the second quarter, the Clippers chipped away and cut South Bay’s lead to four at halftime, 60-56. Johnson and Amir Coffey led all scorers at the half with 16 and 14 points, respectively. Jones led South Bay with 15 points, Paris Bass chipped in nine, while Cain and Nate Pierre-Louis scored eight points each.
In the third, the Clippers tightened up their defense and forced multiple turnovers that led to an 11-3 run. The Clippers gained their largest lead, 85-78, with three minutes left in the quarter. Jay Scrubb exploded for 10 points in the third along with four other Clippers who were in double-digit scoring heading into the final frame.
South Bay trailed by as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter, but a cutting dunk by Bass tied the game up at 114 apiece to send the game to overtime, where the Lakers pulled away for the win.
Johnson finished with 27 points, Coffey scored 22 points and Moses Wright tallied a 22-point, 12-rebound double-double for the Clippers. Scrubb finished with 16 points and Shevon Thompson led the second unit with 13 points.
All five South Bay starters scored in double digits, with Jones leading the team and tying his career-high with 30 points, nine assists and six rebounds on the night. Bass tallied 18 points and nine rebounds alongside McClung, who had 18 points and eight assists. Andre Ingram led the bench with nine points and three steals.
South Bay will host the Clippers again on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. PT from the UCLA Health Training Center.