SANTA CRUZ, CA – The UCSC Men’s basketball team looks to end the year on a high note as they head into the Purple & Gold Poet Classic to begin the week. They will battle Whittier College in what will be the first of back-to-back games for the Banana Slugs. For the second game in a row, Marshal Arwine Jr. will be starting as one of the guards for UCSC. Arwine Jr. provided a spark in last weeks victory over George Fox—contributing with 9 points, 5 rebounds and assists. Coach DuBois went with the same starting line-up of F-Creighton, F-Townsend, G-J. Ponce, and G-Marlow for a second game in a row as well. Although this starting line-up was successful in last weeks win, they had trouble to begin the game as they trailed 21-33 at halftime; ultimately resulting in a 63-78 loss on the road.
The Slugs got off to a very slow start, missing the first eleven shots from the field. They inability to shoot the ball allowed the opportunity for an 11-0 start for Whittier playing at home. Early shooting woes for the Slugs proved to be detrimental to the team’s offense as they went 7-25 in the first half. Shooting just 28% from the filed compared to Whittier’s 40%. In addition, the lack of ball movement did not aid the Slugs attempted comeback as they tallied a total of 2 assist in the first quarter. Arwine Jr. had a team high the half, racking up 6 points for the Slugs. UCSC had 6 other players score, 4 of them supplied 2 point each. The rest of the team stats were pretty evenly matched but the slow start proved to also haunt the Slugs in the second half.
To begin the second quarter, the Slugs got off to a sharp start going on a 6-0 run shooting 4 of 6 in the first couple minutes. They played a lot better shooting 60% from the filed, 18 of 30 collectively. Jared Ponce had a big second quarter as he came up with nearly half the team’s points; scoring 20 of the teams 42. The second half proved to be a lot closer, but it was still a 42-45 quarter in favor of Whittier. Not only were the Slugs outscored by three, but they were also out rebounded (11-17) and turned the ball over 8 times for the period. Ponce finished with a team high 22 points for the match, going 9 of 18 from the field. No other player had more than 10 points for UCSC.
Both teams shot roughly 45 % from the field but the difference for Whittier was their ability to capitalize from points off turnovers. As they had 23 points compared to the Slugs 8. Furthermore, the Slugs were out rebounded (39-31) for the game and Whittier received a huge boost from the bench as they scored 36 points compared to the Slugs 19. A combination of a poor shooting start and being out rebounded added to the Slugs difficulties. To add, playing on the road made it difficult to overcome the deficit, as the Slugs never led in the game. The deficit proved to be too much as they fell short of another comeback. The UCSC Slug’s currently own a 5-10 record and look to bounce back tomorrow as they take on University of Redlands to finish the Purple & Gold Poet Classic. They hope to earn one more win before the start of the New Year, a win that can certainly provide momentum moving forward into the season.
By Javier Gutierrez (UC Santa Cruz, 2014)