SANTA CRUZ (1-24) – The Banana Slugs completed their two-game home stand as they took on NAIA member UC Merced at Kaiser Permanente Arena. The Golden Bobcats used a 13-1 first half run to win 58-53.
This game was a rematch of a game played on November 15th in Merced that the Banana Slugs won 68-56. In their last game, the Banana Slugs won 73-66 over NCCAA member Bethesda University of California in Santa Cruz on Saturday while Golden Bobcats lost 82-69 to Pacific Union College in Angwin.
In the first half, the Golden Bobcats would start the game on a 13-1 run capped by a Derek E'denchukwu layup with 13:15 left in the half. The Banana Slugs would then go on a 9-4 spurt, capped by a pair of Ben Dorfman free throws with 10:41 left in the half, to trim the Golden Bobcats' lead to seven at 17-10. The Golden Bobcats would respond with a 7-0 run, capped by a Cole Taira jumper with 8:03 left in the half, to give them their largest lead of the ballgame at fourteen at 24-10. The Banana Slugs would then go on a half-ending 17-7 run, capped by a Corey Cilia jumper with 1:15 left, to trim the Golden Bobcats' lead to 31-27. The Golden Bobcats led 31-27 at the halftime intermission.
In the second half, the Golden Bobcats held the Banana Slugs at arms' length. The Golden Bobcats would gain their largest lead of the half at eleven, at 49-38, on an Aaron Laflin three pointer with eleven minutes left. The Banana Slugs would then go on a 9-0 run, capped by a pair of Cilia free throws with 6:53 left, to trim the Golden Bobcats' lead to 49-47. Two points was as close as the Banana Slugs would come, however, as the Golden Bobcats would outscore the Banana Slugs 9-6 during the remainder of the game and won 58-53.
Dorfman had thirteen points to lead the Banana Slugs in the loss. Taira had a game high fifteen points for the Golden Bobcats. Kyle Creighton had eleven points and a returning Will Crain had ten points for the Banana Slugs off the bench. Aaron Laflin had twelve and Matt Laflin had ten points for the Golden Bobcats.
The Banana Slugs shot 28.1% (18-64) from the field, 21.7% (5-23) from the three-point line and were 60% (12-20) from the free throw line. The Golden Bobcats shot 47.2% (25-53) from the field, 30% (6-20) from the three-point line and 33.3% (2-6) from the foul line. UC Santa Cruz's defense forced twenty two turnovers by the Golden Bobcats scoring twenty points off the turnovers while the Golden Bobcats' defense forced twelve turnovers by UC Santa Cruz scoring eleven points off the turnovers. UC Merced outrebounded UC Santa Cruz 42-40 while the Banana Slugs had nine more second chance points (11-2) than did the Golden Bobcats.
The Banana Slugs will now go on the road for their final two road games of the 2016-2017 season. The next game for the Banana Slugs is Saturday as they take on California Miramar University in San Dimas. The game will be held on the campus of Life Pacific College and will tip off at 5 pm.