Slugs Down UC Merced

Holding home court once again, the UC Santa Cruz men's team went to 5-0 at the Slug Dome this season with a convincing 74-52 victory over the UC Merced Bobcats. In doing so, the Slugs went to 12-9 for the season, the earliest the Slugs have ever had 12 wins in the history of the program. They are also currently on a four game winning streak. Pushing the inside game early, the Slugs opening up the scoring with back-to-back baskets in the paint by Slugs’ big men, Brent Jacobs and Nick Hipwell. Through the early portion of the game, there were numerous ties. The Bobcats took their only lead of the game, 12-10 off of a jumper by George Idehen eight minutes in. The Slugs responded by a jumper by Kevin Konopelski to tie it up. The last tie of the game was with 10 minutes to go in the first half when the Bobcats Daniel Castillo hit two free throws. 15 seconds later, a Brent Jacobs jumper triggered an 11-0 run and the Slugs never trailed again. The Bobcats scored just three points over the last ten minutes of the first half, while the Slugs scored 18. Having a dominant first half, senior Brent Jacobs concluded the first half scoring with a big time throw down dunk, pushing the lead to 34-19. Another Jacobs dunk early in the second half stretched the Cruz lead to 19 before the Bobcats made a brief run. Just over six minutes into the second half, Aki Chambers rolled in a lay up to cap a 15-7 run for the Bobcats, cutting the Slug lead to 11. Santa Cruz responded with back-to-back lay ups by freshman Aron West and sophomore Spencer Wells. This was quickly followed by threes by Kevin Konopelski and Tyler Hunt. Capping off the Slug run, Brent Jacobs rattled home two straight jumpers and the Slugs were once again comfortably up by 20. Refusing to go away, the Bobcats finished an 11-3 run with Griffin Alexander swishing a free throw after he was fouled on his successful three-point basket with 5:08 left. Unruffled, Kevin Konopelski nailed a three immediately followed by two more splashes from behind the arc by Tyler Hunt within 20 seconds. By then, the Slugs were up by 21 and the game was under control. A three by Aki Chambers cut that lead to 20 before senior Eric Charles concluded the scoring by muscling his way in to grab an offensive rebound and powering it back in for two. Aki Chambers of UC Merced led all scorers with 22 points with George Idehen tying him for the team lead in rebounds with six. For the Slugs, Brent Jacobs was once again the leading scorer, this time scoring 19. Tyler Hunt added 10, including a perfect three for three from behind the arc. Sam Allen dished off five assists and pulled down seven boards, just one less than Brent Jacobs game leading eight rebounds. For the season, Brent surpassed Sandro Meallet to move into fifth on the all time single season block list with 30. With four more, he will move into third all time behind Niel Brennan and Derek Jones. Nationally, out of 405 teams ranked, the Slugs are ranked #11 in the nation for three-point defense. They are also ranked in steals, averaging 9.4 per game. Individually, Sam Allen is ranked among the leaders in free throw percentage with 83.9% for the season. Brent Jacobs is ranked for blocked shots, averaging 1.5 per game and both Sam Allen (1.8) and Trent Reeves (1.7) are ranked among the nation's leaders in steals. As a team, the Slugs have the most wins and the top winning percentage of any D3 Independent team in the nation. Next up during this record breaking season is long time nemesis, Chapman. After losing to the Slugs by a single point on January 20 at the Slug Dome, the Panthers spanked Arizona Christian 89-56 on Thursday, January 26. Chapman is currently 12-6 for the season and has one additional game scheduled against West Coast Baptist before the Slugs and Panthers tip off at 7pm on Saturday, February 4 at the Hutton Sports Center on Chapman’s campus in Orange, California. Last year, the Panthers made it to the second round of the NCAA playoffs before losing to Whitworth. That game is scheduled to be broadcast on line at letsgoexpo.com/event/index.cfm?EID=80000348