SANTA CRUZ (12-17) – The Banana Slugs started their three game homestand and the UCSC Holiday Classic as they took on Illinois Institute of Technology at Kaiser Permanente Arena. The Scarlet Hawks won 68-62 over the Banana Slugs.
In their last game, the Banana Slugs lost 74-61 to California Lutheran University on December 11th in Thousand Oaks while Illinois Tech won 90-75 over Fontbonne University in St. Louis on Monday.
In the first half, the two teams were plagued by cold shooting with the Banana Slugs waiting just over five and a half minutes of clock time for their first field goal of the contest. The Scarlet Hawks would take their largest lead of the ballgame at six, at 19-13, on an Anthony Mosley Jr. layup with 9:29 left in the half. The Banana Slugs would respond with 10-0 run, capped by a pair of Matthew Nerland free throws with 5:41 left in the half, to give the Banana Slugs a 23-19 lead. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the game at six, at 34-28, on a Tyler Klingenback tip in with thirty two seconds left in the half. The Banana Slugs led 34-28 at the halftime break.
In the second half, the two teams would trade the lead back and forth. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the half at five, at 41-36, on a Kyle Creighton three pointer with 15:52 left. The Scarlet Hawks would work their way back into the ballgame and would tie the game at 41-41 on a Jake Digiorgio free throw with 13:07 left. The Scarlet Hawks would take the lead for good, at 49-47, on a Mosley Jr. layup with 7:54 left. The Banana Slugs would tie the game, at 60-60, on a Kyle Creighton three pointer with 2:43 left. The Scarlet Hawks would end the game on an 8-2 run and would win 68-62 to extend the Banana Slugs' losing streak to two.
Creighton had sixteen points to lead the Banana Slugs. Jake Digiorgio, off the bench, and Samuel Rarick had a game high eighteen points apiece for the Scarlet Hawks. Andrew Jones, off the bench, had nine points and Klingenbeck had eight points for the Banana Slugs in the loss. Malik Howze had fourteen points and Mosley Jr. had nine points for the Scarlet Hawks.
The Banana Slugs shot 35.5% (22-62) from the field, 40.7% (11-27) from the three-point line and was 87.5% (7-8) from the free throw line. The Scarlet Hawks shot 45.1% (23-51) from the field, 11.1% (1-9) from the three-point line and 80.8% (21-26) from the foul line. UC Santa Cruz's defense forced twenty one turnovers by the Scarlet Hawks scoring twelve points off the turnovers while the Scarlet Hawks' defense forced sixteen turnovers by UC Santa Cruz and scored twelve points off the turnovers. Illinois Tech outrebounded UC Santa Cruz 40-31 and the Scarlet Hawks had three more second chance points (10-7) than did the Banana Slugs.
The next game for the Banana Slugs is Monday as they take on Pacific Lutheran University at Kaiser Permanente Arena at 3 pm.