EAGLE ROCK (12-28) - The Banana Slugs returned to Southern California as they took on Occidental College. Tonight's game was the eighth of an eleven-game road trip for the Banana Slugs. The Tigers came back from double digits to defeat the Banana Slugs 72-65.
In their last game, the Banana Slugs won 81-71 over Messiah College in Honolulu last Tuesday while the Tigers lost 73-69 to NCAA Division III #1 Whitman College in Eagle Rock on December 17th.
In the first half, the Banana Slugs would start the game on a 10-0 run capped by an Andrew Jones three pointer with 17:08 left in the half. The Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the ballgame at thirteen, at 24-11, on a Corey Cilia three pointer with 11:53 left in the half. From that point, the Tigers would go on an 18-4 run, capped by a pair of Jonny Crosthwaite free throws with 5:29 left in the half, to give the Tigers the lead at 29-28. The Tigers would gain their largest lead of the half at three, at 33-30, on a Zach Baines layup with 4:17 left in the half. The Banana Slugs would finish the half on an 11-6 spurt, capped by a Kyle Creighton layup with twenty seconds left in the half, to give the Banana Slugs a 41-39 lead at halftime.
In the second half, the two teams would play back and forth basketball with neither team gaining a lead larger than seven points. The Banana Slugs would gain their seven point advantage at 50-43 on a Creighton three pointer. The Tigers would go on a 16-7 run, capped by a Baines three pointer with 8:03 left, to gain the lead for good at 59-57. The closest the Banana Slugs would come would be one at 61-60 on a Tre Weston layup with 4:26 left. The Tigers would gain their largest lead of the ballgame at seven on a Crosthwaite free throw with four seconds left. The loss ended the Banana Slugs' winning streak at three.
Jones had nineteen points to lead the Banana Slugs. Weston had nine and Creighton and Cilia, off the bench, both had eight in the loss.
Austin DeWitz had a game high twenty points for the Tigers while Baines had fourteen. Crosthwaite and Jeevin Sandhu, off the bench, both had twelve for the Tigers.
The Banana Slugs shot 35.1% (26-74) from the field, 42.3% (11-26) from the three-point line and were 28.6% (2-7) from the free throw line. The Tigers shot 46.9% (30-64) from the field, 14.3% (1-7) from the three-point line and 68.8% (11-16) from the foul line. UC Santa Cruz's defense forced five turnovers by the Tigers scoring four points off the turnovers while the Tigers' defense forced eight turnovers by UC Santa Cruz scoring eight points off the turnovers. UC Santa Cruz outrebounded Occidental 46-42 while the Tigers had five more fast break points (12-7) than did the Banana Slugs.
The Banana Slugs will have little time to reflect on tonight's game as they will take on Whittier College in Whittier tomorrow night at 6 pm.