Bighorns Earn Pacific Division Title with Win over Warriors
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - The Reno Bighorns (29-21) defeated the Santa Cruz Warriors (23-27) 113-105 Saturday night at the Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz, Calif. With the victory over the Warriors, the Bighorns clinched the Pacific Division title and became the number two overall seed in the Western Conference.
Sacramento Kings two-way player Jakarr Sampson led the Bighorns with 27 points and three rebounds while Josh Hagins had 18 points, six rebounds and four assists. Two-way player Jack Cooley had a near double-double notching 17 points and nine rebounds.
Terrance Jones paced the Warriors with 18 points and 10 rebounds while Damian Jones had 18 points and eight rebounds.
The opening frame was a tightly contested battle that saw six ties and 13 lead changes with neither team leading by more than two possessions. Despite Sampson scoring 13 in the quarter, the Bighorns had a mere two-point edge at the end of the first frame.
The even play continued through the second quarter as the Bighorns had a 66.7% shooting effort compared to the Warriors 52.0%. After keeping a two-possession lead over the Warriors, Santa Cruz went on a 9-3 run to tie the game at 42 with 6:22 to play in the first half. A layup from Daniel Ochefu at the 6:02 marked spurred an 11-3 run, expanding the Bighorns lead to 10 by the 1:23 mark. Reno held a seven-point lead going into the locker room at the half.
Reno continued to execute their offense coming out of the break, building their advantage to 12 points in the quarter. The Warriors chipped away at their deficit cutting it to three points by the 1:51 mark. After back-to-back triples from Jones and Williams, Reno headed into the final frame with a 94-87 lead.
Santa Cruz opened up the fourth quarter on a 7-2 run making it a one possession game with 9:28 left in play. Reno responded with a 15-0 run after keeping the Warriors scoreless for over six minutes. The Bighorns kept the Warriors at bay with a double-digit lead the remainder of the frame to secure a 113-105 victory.
The Bighorns will receive a bye the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs before hosting a game during the second round on a later date to be announced.
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