SANTA CRUZ - Playing for the first time at home in nineteen days, it took a while for UC Santa Cruz to get warmed up against the Bethesda Flames.
The Slugs eventually got rolling and turned around a deficit in their 73-66 win Saturday night.
UC Santa Cruz evened their record at 9-9. Bethesda went to 7-10.
The first half had four ties and seven lead changes, the final one with :40 left before halftime when Bethesda's C.J. Johnson hit a three-pointer to give the visitors a 28-26 lead.
The second half began with the Flames extending the lead to six (32-26) with 18:40 left. The Slugs went on a 12-4 run to take the lead at 38-36. Bethesda tied it at 38 and took the lead at 40-38 before UCSC tied it at 40. Bethesda's Gabriel Aderstag then hit a three-pointer to give the Flames a 43-40 lead, but that was the last time Bethesda led.
UCSC answered with a 13-2 run, bookended by three-pointers by Ben Dorfman. Dorfman finished with nine points in the game, all on three treys in that second-half run that gave UCSC a eight-point lead (53-45) with nine minutes left.
The Slugs held off the Flames by going 18-28 from the free-throw line over the final 7:30 to pull out the thrilling win.
"It was a little sloppy, but we got the job done," said forward Kyle Creighton.
Creighton led UC Santa Cruz with 17 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. Tre Weston added 11 points and 17 rebounds. He also dished out five assists, tying for the team high. They helped the Banana Slugs to a 52-36 rebound advantage.
UCSC went 22-32 from the line for the game, including 20-30 in the second half, while Bethesda was 8-12 for the game.
Buddha Boyd led the Flames with 16 points and 4 assists. Gabriel Aderstag had 14 points.
UC Santa Cruz next plays on Tuesday night at 7:00pm against rival UC Mered at KP Arena.