MEMPHIS (1-2) – UC Santa Cruz played their played their first game of the 2016 calendar year as they took on Rhodes College in Memphis. The game was a part of the Rhodes New Year Classic. The Lynx used a strong second half to defeat the Banana Slugs 63-56.
In their last game, UC Santa Cruz defeated University of Redlands 67-66 on Wednesday in Redlands while the Lynx lost 78-68 to Emroy & Henry College on Wednesday in Memphis.
In the first half, the Banana Slugs would gain a three point lead on two occasions; the second occasion coming at 5-2 on Sam Gabbard layup with 19:05 left in the half. The Lynx would then go on an 8-0 run, capped by a Brennan Sullivan three pointer with 16:57 left, to make the score 10-5. The Banana Slugs would get back into the ballgame and would take the lead at 18-17 on a Gabbard free throw with 8:58 left in the half. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the game at five on two occasions; the second occasion coming at 24-19 on a Gabbard layup with 6:03 left in the half. The Lynx would go on a 7-2 run to end the half and the two teams would be tied at 26-26 headed into the halftime intermission.
In the second half, the two teams would play back and forth basketball. The Banana Slugs would equal their largest lead of the game, at 38-33, on a Matthew Ponce free throw with 13:05 left. The Lynx would work themselves back into the ballgame and would take the lead for good at 44-43 on a pair of Daniel Darst free throws with 8:10 left. The Lynx would gain their largest lead of the ballgame at eight, at 55-47, on a Sullivan three pointer with 4:23 left. The Banana Slugs would come as close as three, at 57-54, on a Jared Ponce three pointer with thirty one seconds left. The Banana Slugs would get no closer, however, as the Lynx won 63-56.
Crain had a game high fourteen points for the Banana Slugs. Darst also had a game high fourteen points, off the bench, for the Lynx. Gabbard had a double double with thirteen points and eleven rebounds and Jared Ponce had twelve points in the loss. Tyler Gee and Sullivan both had nine for the Lynx.
The Banana Slugs shot 41.5% (22-53) from the field, 16.7% (2-12) from the three-point line and was 66.7% (10-15) from the free throw line. The Lynx shot 44% (22-50) from the field, 46.2% (6-13) from the three-point line and 56.5% (13-23) from the foul line. UC Santa Cruz's defense forced thirteen turnovers by the Lynx scoring twelve points off the turnovers while the Lynx defense forced nineteen turnovers by UC Santa Cruz scoring sixteen points off the turnovers. UC Santa Cruz outrebounded Rhodes 39-28 and the Banana Slugs had four more points in the paint (34-30) than did the Lynx.
The Banana Slugs will finish up their trip to the Volunteer State tomorrow as they take on Rust College. Tipoff is set for 10 am.