Blake Ahearn made sure he didn’t disappoint in his return with the Dakota Wizards.
After being waived by the San Antonio Spurs last week, Ahearn signed with his former D-League squad and in his first game back erupted for 33 points to guide the Wizards to a 111-101 triumph over the Reno Bighorns on Sunday for their fourth straight victory.
The 23-year-old, who had become the first player in D-League history to be called up to an NBA team and assigned to their D-League affiliate in the same year, shot 10-of-26 from the field, 6-of-10 from 3-point range and 7-of-7 from the free throw line. Ahearn added eight assists for Dakota.
The win didn’t come easy, however. After leading by as many as 21, the Wizards survived a late flurry from Reno. The Bighorns pulled within four with just over a minute remaining before a pair of free throws by Ahearn sealed the deal.
“Guys are starting to play together”, Wizards head coach Duane Ticknor said. “It’s nice to have Blake back as well as to see a veteran like Moe get some well deserved recognition. All and all the guys played well, but we still have to take care of the ball.”
Maurice Baker added 19 points to become Dakota's all-time leading scorer and grabbed 11 rebounds, while Renaldo Major hauled down 12 boards.
”This feels good”, Baker said with the game ball still in his hands. “I am not much for records, don’t really follow them, but it means a lot to me that I could get this one at home in front of our fans.”
Damone Brown paced Reno with 19 points and Antonio Meeking had 17 as six Bighorns players scored in double figures.
The Wizards are back in action on Monday when they host the Los Angeles D-Fenders in a contest that was postponed Saturday due to dangerous weather conditions. The Bighorns, meanwhile, continue their seven-game road trip when they visit the Fort Wayne Mad Ants on Tuesday.