LA VERNE (12-29) – UC Santa Cruz played their last game of the 2015 calendar year as they took on University of Redlands in Redlands. The game was tight throughout and in the end, the Banana Slugs finished their trip to Southern California 2-0 as they won 67-66.
In their last game, UC Santa Cruz defeated University of La Verne 70-65 yesterday in La Verne while the University of Redlands lost 80-60 to Lewis and Clark College on December 22nd in Portland.
In the first half, the two teams would play an incredibly close game. The Bulldogs would gain their largest lead of the ballgame at two, at 2-0, on a Kyle Husslein layup with 18:56 left in the half. The Banana Slugs would expand their lead to four on two occasions; the second occasion coming at 8-4 on a Sam Gabbard jumper with 17:01 left in the half. The two teams would trade the lead back and forth for the majority of the half. The Banana Slugs would gain the lead for good, at 28-27, on a pair of Gabbard free throws with 6:15 left in the half. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the ballgame at six, at 38-32, on a Jared Ponce free throw with 1:04 left in the half. The Banana Slugs led 38-34 at halftime.
For the second consecutive game, the Banana Slugs would play a tightly matched second half. The Bulldogs would tie the game at 42-42 on a Reed Hopkins jumper with sixteen minutes left. The Banana Slugs would then go on a 7-1 run, capped by a Will Crain jumper with 13:29 left in the half, to gain a 49-43 lead. The Bulldogs would come as close as one on two occasions; the second occasion coming at 59-58 on a Joey Sponheim jumper with 5:10 left. The Banana Slugs' lead would again swell to five, at 65-60, on a pair of Matthew Ponce free throws with thirty seven seconds left. The Bulldogs would cut the Banana Slugs' lead to one, at 67-66, on a Husslein layup with three seconds left. The Banana Slugs would hold the ball on their final possession as they won 67-66. The win was the Banana Slugs' second in a row.
Gabbard had a double double with a game high sixteen points and twelve rebounds for the Banana Slugs. Husslein had fifteen points for the Bulldogs. Crain had ten points and Jared Ponce had nine points in the win. Sean Milligan had thirteen and Hopkins had twelve, off the bench, for the Bulldogs.
The Banana Slugs shot 47.1% (24-51) from the field, 22.2% (4-18) from the three-point line and was 68.2% (15-22) from the free throw line. The Bulldogs shot 39.7% (23-58) from the field, 21.1% (4-19) from the three-point line and 64% (16-25) from the foul line. UC Santa Cruz's defense forced nine turnovers by the Bulldogs scoring eleven points off the turnovers while the Bulldogs' defense forced fourteen turnovers by UC Santa Cruz scoring eighteen points off the turnovers. University of Redlands outrebounded UC Santa Cruz 37-36 while the Banana Slugs had six more points in the paint (34-28) than did the Bulldogs.
The next game for the Banana Slugs will be Saturday as they take on Rhodes College in Memphis. The game will be a part of the Rhodes New Year Classic. Tipoff is set for 1 pm.