November 15, 2011

Santa Cruz Slugs It Out With Division I UC Davis

In the end, the taller Division 1 UC Davis Aggies slipped by the Division III UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs 84-78 at The Pavilion on the Davis campus. However, for most of the game, there did not appear to be a difference in NCAA division or talent.  The smaller, and usually quicker Slugs outshot the Aggies from the field 50.9% to 43.9%, held their own on the boards and dished out 7 more assists than the Aggies. The Achilles heel for Santa Cruz in this game was a miserable 44.8% at the line while Davis hit 82.9%, making 16 more free throws than the Slugs to secure the victory. The Slugs came out hot with slick ball handling magician, Nate Morhi having a career night. Constantly slicing the Davis defense with pinpoint passing, Nate led all players with five assists and not a single turnover. Playing stellar defense, the 5'9 senior from Monterey Park also had three steals to go along with 11 points. With Nate at the helm, the Slugs would roll to a 12 point lead with just under five minutes left in the first half while shooting 65% from the floor. Tyler Hunt with 2 long range threes scored 8 points in the first half and Sam Allen led all scorers with 10 points. Davis would make a run at the end of the half, but the Slugs went into the break clinging to a slim 48-44 lead. UCSC gradually built their lead early in the second half. With 15:04 left in the game, a free throw by Brent Jacobs pushed the Slug lead to 61-49 and with 9:46 minutes to play, Jamien Jones knocked down two free throws, maintaining a double-digit lead for Santa Cruz. Unfortunately, for the rest of the game, the Slugs would go ice cold from the line, missing 12 of 16 from the line while the Aggies converted on 17 of 20 free throws. Still, the Slugs kept the lead until 2:02 left in the game when Tyrell Corbin would hit a pair of free throws to give Aggies their first lead since the 10:19 mark of the first half. The Aggies would stretch the lead to three off of a Ryan Sypkens lay up with a 1:12 left and stretch it to four with 15 seconds left with a Sypkens free throw. The Slugs would cut it to 2 with 9 seconds left off of a pair of Sam Allen free throws. Forcing the Slugs to foul, the Aggies hit 4 more free throws to stretch their lead to 6 points at the final buzzer, equaling Davis' biggest lead of the night. In a balanced scoring night, five Slugs hit double figures with Tyler Hunt's 15 points leading the pack. Allen would finish with 12, Mohri and Jones dropped in 11 and Brent Jacobs had 10 points along with a game high 8 rebounds. For the Aggies, Tyrell Corbin led all scorers with 16 points. Next up for the Slugs is a trip to the Pacific Northwest to face Whitworth, Whitman and Walla Walla College. Whitworth spent much of last season ranked #1 in Division 3 while compiling a 28-2 record. This season, they are ranked #12 in the preseason poll. However, the new and improved Slugs might just make a little noise on their trip to Spokane, Washington.