SALT LAKE CITY – The Los Angeles D-Fenders (26-7) defeated the Salt Lake City Stars (11-22) in a matinee matchup on Wednesday at the Lifetime Activities Center-Bruin Arena, 103-100.
D-Fenders guard Vander Blue recorded a game-high 32 points, eight rebounds and four assists, leading five double-digit scorers for Los Angeles. Rookie David Nwaba totaled 16 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and two steals in an all-around effort, while Josh Magette and Troy DeVries each finished with 15 points.
Salt Lake City was led by a pair of 23-point scorers in Jermaine Taylor and Marcus Paige. Taylor added eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks, while Paige contributed four rebounds and five assists in addition to his point total. Utah Jazz assignee Joel Bolomboy notched a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Los Angeles never led in the first half and trailed 55-50 at halftime, due in large part to a false reliance on the three-point shot. L.A. connected on just 2-of-18 attempts from long range in the first two quarters and shot 41.7 percent from the field for the half.
But as they have throughout the season, the D-Fenders stormed back out of the halftime break, outscoring the Stars 29-19 in the third quarter and taking their first lead of the day after just three minutes in the period. DeVries was critical in the comeback effort, using a trio of three-pointers to score 13 of his 15 points in the frame. Los Angeles would not trail for the remainder of the contest.
Overall, L.A. went 37-of-90 (.411) from the field, compared to a 40-of-96 (.417) mark for the Stars. The D-Fenders converted 12-of-42 (.286) three-point attempts in the game, knocking down 10 treys in the second half that was a vast improvement from the team’s first half effort.
Los Angeles has now won 11 games this season in which the team has trailed by at least 10 points.
The D-Fenders will next face the Oklahoma City Blue at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 11, at the Toyota Sports Center, the first of two games that the team will compete in prior to next week’s all-star break.