LOS ANGELES, CA -- UC Santa Cruz started a three game road trip tonight as they took on Occidental College in Los Angeles. The Banana Slugs used a strong second half effort to top the Tigers 77-60.
UC Santa Cruz was coming off a 70-62 victory over UC Merced in Santa Cruz on January 22nd and Occidental was coming off a 85-67 loss to Pomona-Pitzer in Pomona on Tuesday.
The Tigers would start the game on a 6-1 run capped by an Andrew Johnson three point play with 17:33 left in the half. Five would be the Tigers' largest lead of the game. The Banana Slugs would tie the game, at 8-8, with 16:19 left in the half on a Jared Ponce three pointer. The two teams would trade the lead back and forth for the majority of the half. The Banana Slugs would take the lead for good at 24-23, with 6:51 left in the half, on a Marshal Arnwine Jr. layup. The Banana Slugs gain their largest lead of the half at eight, at 38-30, on a James Townsend three pointer with 1:06 left in the half. Townsend's three pointer was the final basket of the half for either team as the Banana Slugs took a 38-30 lead into the halftime intermission.
In the second half, the Banana Slugs would expand their lead to double digits, at 41-30, with 19:39 left on a Jared Ponce three pointer. The Tigers would come as close as seven on three occasions; the third occasion coming at 45-38 on a Spencer Levy layup with 15:42 left. The Banana Slugs' largest lead was at twenty, at 75-55, with 1:42 left after a Jared Ponce free throw. The Banana Slugs would go on to win 77-60.
Townsend had a game high seventeen points for the Banana Slugs. Hamane and Levy, off the bench, had thirteen points apiece for the Tigers. Berknes, off the bench, had a double double with thirteen points and ten rebounds and Jared Ponce had eleven points in the win. Jay Miller had ten points for the Tigers.
The Banana Slugs shot 42.9% (27-63) from the field, 38.1% (8-21) from the three point line and was 71.4% (15-21) from the free throw line. The Tigers shot 32.1% (17-53) from the field, 25% (5-20) from the three point line and 75% (21-28) from the foul line. UC Santa Cruz's defense forced twenty one Tiger turnovers scoring fourteen points off the turnovers while the Tigers' defense forced fourteen turnovers by UC Santa Cruz scoring twelve points off the turnovers. UC Santa Cruz outrebounded Occidental 40-39 and the Banana Slugs had sixteen more points in the paint (34-18) than did the Tigers.
The Banana Slugs will have eight days to get ready for their next contest. The next game for the Banana Slugs is February 21st as they start a Texas two-step as they will take on Southwestern University in Georgetown. Tipoff is set for noon.