SANTA CRUZ (2-4) –The Banana Slugs played their final game of the regular season as they took on NAIA member Pacific Union College at Kaiser Permanente Arena. Before the game commenced, the Banana Slugs honored their six seniors – Will Crain, Ben Dorfman, Sam Gabbard, Jack Fitchie, Tyler Klingenbeck and Russell Taylor. The Banana Slugs won 60-57 for their sixth home win in a row.
In the first half, the Banana Slugs started the game on a 21-9 run capped by a Crain layup with 11:03 left in the half. During the run, the Banana Slugs gained their largest lead of the ballgame at thirteen, at 19-6, on a Simon Mueller-Landsvik layup with 12:03 left in the half. From that point, the Pioneers would go on an 8-0 run, capped by De'Rajee Austin's layup with 7:53 left in the half, to trim the Banana Slugs lead to 21-17. The Pioneers would come as close as four again, at 25-21, on a Marc Williams jumper with 4:21 left in the half. The Banana Slugs led 34-27 at halftime.
In the second half, the Banana Slugs would gain their largest lead of the half at eleven, at 38-27, on a Taylor layup with 19:03 left. The Pioneers went on a 19-7 run to lead 53-50with 6:08 left. Over the next five minutes of clock time, the two teams would trade baskets and the lead. The Banana Slugs would take the lead for good, at 58-55, on a Klingenbeck three pointer with 1:07 left.
Gabbard had a game-high twenty-one points to lead the Banana Slugs. Ben Jazuk, off the bench, had thirteen points for the Pioneers. Taylor had a career-high eighteen and Klingenbeck had eleven in the win. Three players – Austin, Blanden and Elijah Green – had eight points apiece for the Pioneers.
The Banana Slugs shot 40% (24-60) from the field, 26.1% (6-23) from the three-point line and were 66.7% (6-9) from the free throw line. The Pioneers shot 41% (25-61) from the field, 23.1% (3-13) from the three-point line and 57.1% (4-7) from the foul line. UC Santa Cruz's defense forced eleven turnovers by the Pioneers scoring thirteen points off the turnovers while the Pioneers' defense forced fourteen turnovers by UC Santa Cruz scoring fourteen points off the turnovers. UC Santa Cruz outrebounded Pacific Union 38-37 and the Banana Slugs had nine more fast break points (9-0) than did the Pioneers.
The next game for Banana Slugs will be Saturday as they take on University of La Verne in La Verne. Tip off is set for 3 pm.