UCSC 56 Southwestern 74

IN PURSUIT OF UCSC SCHOOL RECORD FOR WINS, SLUGS FALL TO SOUTHWESTERN 

SANTA CRUZ, CA—With two games remaining in their season, the Slugs head up to Texas in hopes of adding to their record breaking year for most wins in its men’s basketball school history. UCSC (12-11) prepared for battle against Southwestern University (13-10) in the Lone Star State. Despite the games’ close start, the Pirates dominated the Slugs as they jumped to a 32-19 lead at the half and eventually cruised to a 74-56 victory.

The Pirates Blake Scott scored 15 points and grabbed 9 rebounds as Southwestern fought off Santa Cruz in a rout on Saturday Feb.21st, thus eclipsing the Slugs winning streak at five. The defeat also squanders the opportunity for UCSC to ensure a winning record as they can now, at best, finish at .500 for the season with win in their next contest.

The game was neck-and-neck as it commenced with score of 4-2 after UCSC’s Adam Marlow hit a jumper within opening minutes of the match. However, momentum quickly shifted in favor of Southwestern as they asserted their dominance throughout the game; they played great defense holding the Slugs to seven made field goals for the opening half.

The Pirates Chris Lee capped a 22-12 lead with roughly six minutes remaining after his jumper. Despite Santa Cruz attempts to trim the lead, it was Lee who hit an additional free throw to give Southwestern a 19-32 lead heading into their locker room.  

The second half was no different. UCSC struggled to establish a rhythm on defense allowing 42 points in the half; an uncharacteristic trait for Santa Cruz considering they have played outstanding defense lately. The Pirates were in total command of this game, attaining their large lead of 23 following a score deficit of 52-29 with 13:28 remaining in the game. It was smooth sailing from then on as Southwestern secured a 74-56 victory at home.

The Slugs also struggled on offense, turning the ball over 22 times leading to 14 points for their foes. Furthermore, Santa Cruz couldn’t keep the Pirates off the free throw lane. They went 22-33 from the charity stripe, which also contributed to the deficit while Santa Cruz only made six of their attempted 15 free throws.

In addition, Santa Cruz’s second unit had a quiet night. For a bench that has been on a tear lately, they tallied 25 points and were outscored by two. Starting guard Jared Ponce and sixth man Tyler Berkness finished with a team high 11 points for the Slugs in what was a quiet offensive night.

The loss brings Santa Cruz to a 12-12 record. Their next game will also be their last of the season as the Slugs will stay in Texas to play Austin tomorrow (Feb.22). The Slugs hope to come away with a victory to ensure a winning record for the season—it would be the first under head coach Ron DuBois. An achievement UCSC will try to accomplish.

By Javier Gutierrez (UC Santa Cruz, 2015)

*All stats acquired from Goslugs.com