SANTA CRUZ (2-11) – The Banana Slugs played their third consecutive game as they took on NCCAA member Bethesda University of California at Kaiser Permanente Arena. The Flames won the game, which featured eleven ties and seven lead changes, 75-71.
Tonight's game was a rematch of a game played on January 21st in Santa Cruz that was won by UC Santa Cruz 73-66. Both teams won their last game. The Banana Slugs won 101-62 over NCCAA member Shepherd University at Kaiser Permanente Arena on Saturday while the Flames won 71-60 over West Coast Baptist College in Lancaster on Thursday.
In the first half, the Banana Slugs started the game on a 6-2 spurt capped by a Tre Weston layup with 15:40 left in the half. The Flames would respond with a 10-0 run, capped by a Buddha Boyd jumper with 12:49 left in the half, to give the Flames a 12-6 lead. The six point lead marked the Flames largest lead of the ballgame. The Banana Slugs would respond with a 16-9 run of their own, capped by an Andrew Jones three pointer with 6:58 left in the half, to give the Banana Slugs the lead at 22-21. The Banana Slugs would match their largest lead of the half at four, at 25-21, on a Kyle Creighton layup with 5:56 left in the half. The Flames would then go on a 10-3 run, capped by an Eddie LaTorre three pointer with 3:48 left in the half, to give the Flames a 31-28 lead. The Banana Slugs would outscore the Flames 9-6 over the remainder of the half to tie the game at 37-37 headed into the halftime break.
In the second half, the two teams would continue the back and forth pace. The Banana Slugs would start the half on a 16-8 run, capped by a pair of Will Crain free throws with 14:04 left, to give the Banana Slugs their largest lead of the ballgame, at eight, at 53-45. The Flames would then go on a 16-5 run, capped by three Boyd free throws with 9:27 left, to give the Flames a 61-58 lead. The Banana Slugs would tie the game at 69-69 on a Kyle Creighton jumper with 4:38 left. The Flames would gain the lead for good, at 70-69, on an LaTorre free throw with 3:18 left. After Tre Weston hit a free throw with one minute left to trim the Flames' lead to 74-71, Alex Reynolds would miss a three pointer for the Flames and Creighton would claim the rebound to give the Banana Slugs one more chance. The Banana Slugs were unable to convert a three pointer on the offensive end to end the game.
Crain had a game high eighteen points to lead the Banana Slugs. Boyd also had eighteen points for the Flames. Adam Marlow had fifteen, Corey Cilia, off the bench, had eleven, and Tre Weston had ten in the loss. Dominique Carr had fifteen, LaTorre had fourteen and Travis Divita had ten for the Flames.
The Banana Slugs shot 44.8% (26-58) from the field, 33.3% (4-12) from the three-point line and were 68.2% (15-22) from the free throw line. The Flames shot 47.3% (26-55) from the field, 43.8% (7-16) from the three-point line and 76.2% (16-21) from the foul line. UC Santa Cruz's defense forced sixteen turnovers by the Flames scoring thirteen points off the turnovers while the Flames' defense forced eleven turnovers by UC Santa Cruz scoring twelve points off the turnovers. UC Santa Cruz outrebounded Shepherd 35-33 and the Flames had eleven more second chance points (16-5) than did the Banana Slugs.
The next game for the Banana Slugs is next Wednesday as they take on USCAA member California Miramar University at Kaiser Permanente Arena at 1:30 pm. The game marks Senior Night.