WHITTIER (12-29) - The Banana Slugs finished their back-to-back in Southern California as they took on Whittier College in Whittier. The Banana Slugs used a sixty-three point second half to defeat the Poets 111-89. The win marked the Banana Slugs' fourth in five games.
Tonight's game was a rematch of a game played on November 18th at Kaiser Permanente Arena which saw the Banana Slugs win 111-100 in overtime. Both teams lost their last game. The Banana Slugs lost 72-65 to Occidental College in Eagle Rock last night while the Poets lost 86-82 to California Institute of Technology in Whittier last Thursday.
The two teams would play a back and forth first half with neither team gaining a lead larger than five. The Poets would take the lead at 13-12 on an Eric Davis layup with 14:02 left in the half. The Banana Slugs would tie the game at 22-22 on a Haakon Ullrich layup with 10:30 left. The Poets would take their largest lead of the ballgame at five on two occasions; the second occasion at 42-37 on a Victor Nwaba layup with 4:28 left in the half. The Banana Slugs finished the half on a 11-3 run, capped by a Corey Cilia three pointer with 1:32 left in the half, to take the lead for good at 48-45 at intermission.
In the second half, the Banana Slugs would quickly expand their lead. The Banana Slugs gained a double-digit lead at 59-48 on a Sam Gabbard layup with 16:32 left and would gain their largest lead of the ballgame at thirty, at 86-56, on a Cilia three pointer with 10:15 left. The Poets would come as close as fourteen, at 96-82, after a pair of Nick Potthoff free throws with 3:14 left.
Jacob Aruta, off the bench, and Nwaba had eighteen points for the Poets. Davis, off the bench, had fourteen, and Louis Kurihara had twelve.
The Banana Slugs shot 56.2% (41-73) from the field, 47.8% (11-23) from the three-point line and were 52.9% (18-34) from the free throw line. The Poets shot 42% (34-81) from the field, 30.3% (10-33) from the three-point line and 61.1% (11-18) from the foul line. UC Santa Cruz's defense forced seventeen turnovers by the Poets, scoring twenty-nine points off the turnovers.. UC Santa Cruz outrebounded Whittier 45-43 while the Poets had twenty-eight more points off the bench (53-25) than did the Banana Slugs.
The Banana Slugs will have eight days to get ready for their next game on January 6th against NCCAA member West Coast Baptist in Lancaster. Tip off is set for 7 pm.