ATHERTON, CA – UC Santa Cruz played their first game in a week and a half on Thursday night as they took NAIA member Menlo College in Atherton. The Oaks used a strong defensive performance in the second half for a 76-48 win.
The Slugs would fall behind early at 6-2, with 18:08 left, on a Mandip Rai three pointer. The Slugs would gain the lead with 14:47 left, at 10-8, on a Jared Ponce jumper. The Slugs would garner their largest lead of the game with 9:22 left in the first half on a Spencer Wells three pointer to make the score 20-16. The Oaks would then outscore the Oaks 21-12 over the remaining nine minutes of clock time for the 37-32 halftime advantage.
In the second half, the Oaks would put the clamps on the Slugs defensively only allowing sixteen second half points. The Oaks took their largest lead of the ballgame with 7:27 left in the game on a Charles Barnes three pointer to make the score 71-40. The Slugs would make some late game baskets but it was not enough as the Oaks won 76-48.
James Townsend had thirteen points for the Banana Slugs in the loss. Barnes had a game high twenty two points for the Oaks. Jared Ponce and Spencer Wells both had nine points for UC Santa Cruz. Keith Bowman had seventeen points and Mandip Rai had twelve points for the Oaks.
The Banana Slugs shot 32.2% (19-59) from the field, 20.8% (5-24) from the three point line and was 62.5% (5-8) from the free throw line. The Oaks shot 49.2% (29-59) from the field, 44.4% (12-27) from the three point line and 60% (6-10) from the foul line. UC Santa Cruz's defense forced seventeen Oaks turnovers scoring seven points off the turnovers while the Oaks' defense forced fifteen turnovers by UC Santa Cruz scoring nine points off the turnovers. Menlo outrebounded UC Santa Cruz 42-31 and had twelve more assists (17-5) than did UC Santa Cruz.
The Slugs will now have nine days to get ready for their next game. Their next game is February 22nd against Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.