Warriors Win Ninth-Straight and Clinch Playoff Spot
ORLANDO, FL - The Santa Cruz Warriors (10-3) extended their win streak to nine games, beating the Erie Bayhawks (10-3) 121-91. Santa Cruz earned their first wire-to-wire win of the season and clinched a playoff spot with the 30-point victory.
Warriors forward Axel Toupane scored 14 (5-5 FG) of Santa Cruz's first 19 points in the opening four minutes of play. Santa Cruz led by as many as 22 points in the opening frame and had 10 assists, to take a 41-22 lead heading into the second quarter. The Warriors extended the lead to 30 points entering halftime, 70-40, on 17 assists and only four first half turnovers.
Santa Cruz shot 66.7% (14-21 FG) in the third quarter and led 104-68 after three quarters of play. Despite losing the fourth quarter, 23-17, the Warriors held on for their second largest win of the season.
Golden State Warriors assignment forward Alen Smailagic recorded his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds to go along with seven assists. Guard Jacob Evans III came off the bench to score a game-high 24 points (9-12 FG, 4-5 3FG). Toupane finished the game with 22 points (9-14 FG) and seven rebounds. Santa Cruz had three rookies set season-highs in the win (Isaiah Brown - six points, Selom Mawugbe - 12 points, Eli Pemberton - 17 points).
Erie guard Jalen Adams led the Bayhawks with 20 points (8-15 FG). Guard Justin Wright-Foreman added 16 points (2-5 3FG) off the bench.
Santa Cruz will next face the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on March 5 at 4:30 p.m. (PST) on NBC Sports Bay Area. For more information on the Santa Cruz Warriors, call (831) 713-4400 or visit santacruzbasketball.com.
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