SANTA CRUZ, CA --UC Santa Cruz's men's basketball program celebrated Marshall Arnwine Jr. and James Townsend this afternoon as they took on NAIA Division II member UC Merced. The Banana Slugs used a forty four point second half to top the Golden Bobcats 70-62.
UC Santa Cruz was coming off a 62-59 victory over Menlo College in Santa Cruz on January 22nd and UC Merced was coming off a 77-62 loss to CSU Maritime Academy in Merced on Saturday.
The two teams would start the game on a back and forth pace. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the half at three, at 11-8, with 13:57 left in the half on a Tyler Berkness three pointer. The Golden Bobcats would take the lead and would take their largest lead of the game at nine, at 26-17, on a Ryan Edwards dunk with 4:42 left in the half. The Banana Slugs would trim the lead to two, at 26-24, with 2:10 left on a Berkness three pointer. The Golden Bobcats would take a 30-26 lead into the halftime break.
In the second half, the Banana Slugs would take the lead, at 33-32, with 17:18 left after a Jared Ponce layup. The Golden Bobcats would cut the Banana Slugs' lead to two, at 41-39, after a Christian Chapman layup with 13:27 left. From there, the Banana Slugs went on an 11-0 run capped by a Berkness three pointer to give the Banana Slugs a thirteen point lead at 52-39 with 11:29 left. The closest that the Golden Bobcats would come was eight, at 70-62, with 1:08 left after a Joshua Kimble layup. The Banana Slugs won the game 70-62.
Jared Ponce had a game high twenty two points for the Banana Slugs. Michael Pierick, off the bench, had nineteen points for the Golden Bobcats. Berkness had fifteen points off the bench and Townsend had a double double with thirteen points and fifteen rebounds in the win. Kimble had fifteen points and Edwards had fourteen points for the Golden Bobcats.
The Banana Slugs shot 41.2% (28-68) from the field, 35.3% (6-17) from the three point line and was 57.1% (8-14) from the free throw line. The Golden Bobcats shot 40% (24-60) from the field, 21.4% (3-14) from the three point line and 68.8% (11-16) from the foul line. UC Santa Cruz's defense forced sixteen Golden Bobcat turnovers scoring eighteen points off the turnovers while the Golden Bobcats' defense forced sixteen turnovers by UC Santa Cruz scoring ten points off the turnovers. UC Santa Cruz outrebounded UC Merced 48-35 and the Banana Slugs had thirteen more second chance points (20-7) than did the Golden Bobcats.
During the Senior Celebration both Marshal Arnwine Jr. and James Townsend were met on the court by their families and close friends. Marshal Arnwine Sr. presented the Seniors and Coaching staff with gifts that contained the California State Flag which were flown over the California State Capital, Sacramento; certificates signed by CA Senator Honing and UCSC Legislative Representative; and the following Six Books: 1) The Constitution of California and The United States, 2) CA State Assembly, 3) The CA Senate, 4) CA The Golden State, 5) The Budget Process and 6) The Legislative Process. In addition, a special thanks to all involved to make the "2014-2015 Senior Day Celebration".
The Banana Slugs will have nineteen days to get ready for their next game. The next game for the Banana Slugs is February 10th as they will take on NAIA Division II member UC Merced at Kaiser Permanente Arena. Tipoff is set for 4 pm. The game will serve as Senior Night.