Balanced scoring, tough defense leads Banana Slugs to wire-to-wire win at La Verne

Balanced scoring, tough defense leads Banana Slugs to wire-to-wire win at La Verne

LA VERNE, CA -  All-America candidate Sam Gabbard had 16 points and nine rebounds and Will Crain tied the school record in blocks (again) as UC Santa Cruz held off a late charge by the hosts in a 73-63 at La Verne.

UCSC goes to 14-11, their second straight winning season and third highest win total in school history.

Crain finished with 7 points, 2 steals and 6 blocks. It was the third time in the last two years he had six swats to tie the school record and he finishes his UCSC career with 139, good enough for second place behind Niel Brennan's 146 between 2006 and 2010.

While Gabbard, Crain, and the other seniors finished their careers, two underclassmen showed the future is bright for UCSC.

Sophomore Patrick Ramos had 14 points on 6-for-9 shooting and freshman Simon Mueller-Landsvik led the Banana Slugs with a season-high 23 points, shooting 8-for-9 from the floor for the ninth-best shooting night in UCSC history.

The Slugs opened the game on a 14-2 run in the first 5:26. The Leopards fought back to tie the game at 34 but UCSC finished the half on a 6-1 run for a 40-35 halftime lead.

After another double-digit UCSC lead, the hosts fought again to get within 58-57 with 9:59 left. UCSC then held La Verne to just two field goals the rest of the game. The lead went back to 12 after Mueller-Landsvik's layup closed a 15-4 run to make it 73-61 with 1:23 left.

La Verne senior Luke Edwards led all scorers with 29 points, including 8-11 from three.