July 15, 2017
Slam posts first Pro-Am loss despite second half comeback
The Bellingham Slam erased a 22-point second half deficit but couldn't push through for the lead as they lost to The Unit, 107-105, in Seattle Pro-Am league play on Saturday evening at Royal Brougham Pavilion.
The setback was the Slam's first of the season after racing out to a 3-0 start.
Taking to the court with a depleted line-up of just eight available players, the Slam struggled out of the gate. The Unit guard Dom Williams hit a three-pointer a minute into the second quarter to put the Slam down by double-digits for the first time this season, at 32-21.
Plagued by poor shooting in the first half, making just 35 percent of their field goals, the Slam continued to trail at halftime, 59-45.
Bellingham's struggles extended well into the third quarter and it wasn't until the margin had grown to 22, at 83-61 late in the period, before the Slam regrouped and forged their comeback.
Buoyed by a trio of three-pointers from guards Taylor Stafford and Paul Hafford, the Slam opened the fourth quarter with a 20-8 run to get within striking distance.
Bellingham trailed by just three after center Anye Turner converted a three-point play with just over two minutes left, making the score 101-98. Later, Hafford tied the score at 105-105 with a pair of successful free throws, but the Slam were never able to take the lead.
After forcing a jump ball on The Unit's penultimate possession, the Slam came up empty on their end before forward Darien Nelson was able to rush down the court to score the go-ahead points for The Unit with 2.6 seconds left.
Bellingham got a decent look at a potential game-winning three-pointer as time expired, but couldn't convert.
Hafford finished with a season-high 30 points to lead the Slam. Stafford ended with 26 points, including 16 in the second half. Turner posted his first double-double of the season with 16 points and 12 rebounds. In his first career Pro-Am game, Bellingham High School guard Rits Voeut finished with four points and two rebounds.
Williams, a former Central Washington standout, led The Unit with 22 points while incoming Washington freshman guard Jaylen Nowell finished with 18.
The Slam won't have much time to dwell on the loss as they return to action at the Seattle Pro-Am at Noon on Sunday against Team Ball is Life.