EL SEGUNDO – The Los Angeles D-Fenders kicked off the season and the head coaching career of Coby Karl with a dominant display in the team’s season-opener, knocking off the visiting Iowa Energy 127-98 from the Toyota Sports Center on Friday.
Efficiency, combined with a high-scoring offensive attack, paved the way for Los Angeles (1-0) as the home team shot 48.5 percent from the field. Six D-Fenders players scored in double figures, including 21-point performances from Vander Blue, Justin Harper and Travis Wear.
Despite a combined 20 points from Blue and Wear in the first frame alone, the D-Fenders trailed after one quarter, 29-28. But LA’s fast-paced scheme gradually wore Iowa (0-1) down, allowing the home team to march to a 16-point halftime lead. Guard Josh Magette joined Wear with seven points in the second quarter, leading the way as each of the team’s 10 players scored in the frame. Los Angeles rode the first half momentum throughout the second half, ultimately going up by as much as 30 points in the fourth quarter.
In total, Los Angeles enjoyed a 65-to-49 advantage on the glass and dished out 28 total assists, compared to Iowa’s 20. Lastly, a 21-of-23 mark from the charity stripe allowed the D-Fenders to maintain its lead.
The Energy was led by 18 points on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting for guard Quinton Chievous, while Matt Costello added a double-double with his 14 points and 13 rebounds.
For the D-Fenders, Wear (21 points, nine rebounds), Blue (21 points, six rebounds) and Harper (21 points, six rebounds) led the way, while guard Speedy Smith added a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists in 25 minutes of action. Magette contributed 12 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
With the win, the D-Fenders advance to 7-4 all-time against the Energy, defeating Iowa at home for the first time since March 2009. The 29-point victory is the best winning margin in series history.
Los Angeles will have a quick turnaround before hitting the road for its first road contest of the season, a 7 p.m. tipoff against the Santa Cruz Warriors on Saturday.