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Blues outlast RiverSharks, move into third

By Craig Fata, 03/19/16, 3:15PM CDT


Watkins' dazzling passes lead Chicago


March 19, 2016

CHICAGO – The Chicago Blues had to weather a furious fourth-quarter comeback by the St. Louis RiverSharks at Kroc Center Saturday, but behind the dazzling passing of Diante Watkins and the defense of Jakeem Hill, the Blues were able to outlast St. Louis 120-110.

A balanced scoring attack in the first quarter gave Chicago a 34-26 lead heading into the second, and that’s where Diante Watkins began to shine. With an impressive array of passes, Watkins led the Blues to a 68-50 halftime lead.

Chicago continued to keep St. Louis from making much progress, and opened up a 21-point lead at 87-66 with 3:20 to play in the third quarter on a basket by Jarrell Thomas. The Blues took a 91-77 lead into the fourth.

The Blues scored the first six points of the final frame to build the lead back to 20, but that’s when the RiverSharks started their assault. A Chris Stevenson bucket got the lead down to ten at 105-95 with 5:25 to play, and then, a pair of Jaylen Fulton free throws got St. Louis to within four at 110-106 with 2:10 to play.

Watkins the ended the comeback threat with a pair of baskets, followed by a steal and layup by Tremell Adams, and the lead swelled back to ten.

Jarrell Thomas scored 22 for Chicago (8-5), and helped the Blues leapfrog the RiverSharks into third place in the MPBA standings. Diante Watkins added 19 points and eight assists, while Jakeem Hill scored nine points and blocked five shots. Ron Patten also scored 16 points and bagged 12 rebounds.

Jaylen Fulton led St. Louis (7-5) with 29 points of 11-of-15 shooting, while Brandon Roberson added 18. Chris Stevenson and Aaron Williams each scored 14 for the RiverSharks.