THOUSAND OAKS - UC Santa Cruz went down fighting in a wild 91-85 overtime loss at Cal Lutheran in the season opener.
UCSC went 45.3% (34-75) from the field, but was only 8-20 on free throws. CLU shot 31-62 (50.0%) from the field and were 25-35 from the line (71.4%).
Down ten at halftime, the Banana Slugs went on a 13-2 run in the second half, tying it at 45-all by Tre Weston's layup. With the game tied again at 57, UCSC gained their largest lead with a 10-2 run to make it 67-59 with 6:41 left. Another swing in momentum saw the Kingsmen rally from six points down to tie it at 70 with two minutes left. CLU went ahead 72-70 on a pair of Kyle Ferreira free-throws. Sam Gabbard tied it with under a second left on a layup to give the entertained crowd five more minutes of basketball.
UCSC got a quick 76-74 lead in the extra frame, but CLU controlled the rest of the game and held off UCSC to gain the win.
Gabbard led UCSC with a career-high 28 points to go with 13 rebounds in 40 minutes. Corey Cilia added 16 points, Weston dropped in 12 and Adam Marlow scored ten. Marlow also had eight assists. CLU's Austin Cole led all scorers with 36 points playing all 45 minutes.
UCSC returns home to host the Mission Inn Classic this weekend against Whittier and Pomona-Pitzer at KP Arena.