SANTA CRUZ (11-18) – The Banana Slugs tipped off the 2016 Mission Inn Classic as they hosted California Lutheran University. The Kingsmen used a forty one point first half to defeat the Banana Slugs 73-62.
In their last game, the Banana Slugs defeated NAIA member UC Merced 68-56 on Tuesday in Merced. The Kingsmen had an 11-12 record in their 2015-16 campaign.
In the first half, the Kingsmen would start the game on a 7-0 run capped by a Blake Miles tip in with 17:16 left in the half. The Kingsmen would push their lead to double digits at 12-2 on an Adrian Francis layup with 15:40 left in the half. The Kingsmen would gain their largest lead of the game at twenty six, at 36-10, on a Wolfgang Wood three pointer with 4:54 left in the half. The Banana Slugs would respond with a 13-3 run, capped by a Corey Cilia three pointer with 1:14 left in the half, to cut the Kingsmen lead to 39-23. The Kingsmen led 41-23 at the halftime break.
In the second half, the Kingsmen would continue to hold their double digit lead for the entire half. The Banana Slugs would come as close as eleven, at 73-63, on a Will Crain dunk with twelve seconds left in the game. The Kingsmen won 73-62 over the Banana Slugs.
Kyle Creighton had a game high sixteen points to lead the Banana Slugs in the win. Wood also had a game high sixteen points for the Kingsmen. Cilia had fourteen points and Crain had twelve points for the Banana Slugs. Austin Cole had fourteen and Francis had thirteen for the Kingsmen in the win.
The Banana Slugs shot 46.2% (24-52) from the field, 41.7% (5-12) from the three-point line and was 75% (9-12) from the free throw line. The Kingsmen shot 43.8% (28-64) from the field, 50% (11-22) from the three-point line and 50% (6-12) from the foul line. UC Santa Cruz's defense forced nine turnovers by the Kingsmen scoring six points off the turnovers while the Kingsmen defense forced nineteen turnovers by UC Santa Cruz scoring twenty-four points off the turnovers. UC Santa Cruz outrebounded California Lutheran 39-32 while the Kingsmen had one more second chance point (12-11) than did the Banana Slugs. The Slugs added a school-record eleven blocks, including five by Crain.
The next game for the Banana Slugs is tomorrow as they take on Life Pacific College at Kaiser Permanente Arena. Tip off is set for 4 pm.