EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Powered by a season-high 40-point performance from Vander Blue, the D-Fenders defeated the Canton Charge in an overtime thriller on Saturday night at the Toyota Sports Center, 122-118. Los Angeles overcame a 22-point deficit in the win, preserving a league-leading record that now stands at 19-5.
The D-Fenders outscored the Charge 75-54 in the second half, but no bucket was bigger than Blue’s drawn foul on a 27-foot three-pointer to force a four-point play. The basket broke a 118-118 tie with 2.5 seconds remaining in the overtime period, essentially sealing the win for the home team.
Blue’s point total led all scorers on the day. Meanwhile, Ivica Zubac (20 points, 10 rebounds) notched a double-double while becoming only the 10th player in history to appear in an NBA and D-League contest in the same calendar day. David Nwaba enjoyed an all-around effort, finishing with 14 points, six rebounds and four blocks, and Justin Harper tallied his ninth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Canton (13-10) was led by Kay Felder’s 27 points, seven rebounds and five assists on assignment from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Eric Moreland notched a double-double for the Charge with 26 points and 18 rebounds. Meanwhile, Quinn Cook finished the night with 26 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.
Los Angeles trailed 64-47 at halftime after shooting 36.2 percent in the first two quarters. Meanwhile, the Charge trio of Felder, Moreland and Cook combined for 46 points in the first half.
The D-Fenders would go on to outscore Canton in the third (28-20), fourth (39-30) and overtime periods (8-4) as Blue totaled 26 points in the second half. The home team — led largely by the defensive intensity of the rookie Nwaba — forced 16 second-half turnovers, and the Charge’s star trio combined for only 33 points after the second quarter.
Los Angeles has now won each of their five games in January by an average of 3.2 points after the latest last-minute victory.