Santa Cruz Defeats Reno Bighorns
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - The defending NBA D-League Champion Santa Cruz Warriors (14-22) defeated the Reno Bighorns (24-12) 121-115 on Friday in front of a sellout crowd at Kaiser Permanente Arena.
Aaron Craft paced Santa Cruz with 30 points, 14 of which came in the final frame. Daniel Coursey received his first start in Santa Cruz and recorded 24 points and 9 rebounds behind an 11-of-12 shooting effort. Darington Hobson added 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists.
Erick Green paced the Bighorns with 36 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists. Ricky Ledo totaled 21 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, while David Stockton notched 15 points. Reggie Hearn logged a double-double, recording 10 points and 11 rebounds. Gani Lawal also logged a double-double for the Bighorns, finishing with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
The first quarter was a low scoring affair that ended with the Warriors leading the Bighorns 19-16. Neither team shot efficiently in the frame as Santa Cruz and Reno finished the quarter 32% and 20.7% from the field, respectively.
The second quarter was a tightly-contested, seeing eleven lead changes and two ties. Reno would win the quarter 36-32 on 60.9% shooting to enter the locker room holding a 52-51 advantage.
Neither team was able to pull away coming out of the break, with the lead changing eight times in the third quarter. Reno entered the fourth quarter with a slight 83-80 advantage over Santa Cruz.
The Warriors opened the fourth quarter on a 6-1 run to hold an 86-84 advantage early in the final frame. Aaron Craft recorded back-to-back steals leading to four-point surplus for Santa Cruz, giving the Warriors a 90-84 advantage at the 9:26 mark in the fourth quarter.
Reno would slowly chip away at the deficit, coming within two points with just over two minutes to play. Craft and Coursey would combine to score 12 points in the final two minutes of play to hold off a Reno comeback and give the Warriors a 121-115 victory over the Pacific-leading Bighorns.
The Santa Cruz Warriors will travel to Reno tomorrow at 7 p.m. PST to take on the Bighorns at the Reno Events Center. Fans can watch the game on the NBA D-League's YouTube channel, via www.santacruzbasketball.com.
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