SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Santa Cruz Warriors (19-17) fell to the Reno Bighorns (13-23) 109-108 on Friday night at Golden 1 Center.
James Southerland led the Warriors with a double-double, notching 27 points and 11 rebounds. LaDontae Henton finished with 23 points, going 7-of-13 from beyond-the-arc. Scott Wood added 13 points and 6 rebounds.
The Bighorns received an explosive performance from Gary Neal, who finished with 41 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 steals. Georgios Papagiannis, on assignment from the Sacramento Kings, recorded a double-double, finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Reggie Hearn contributed with 17 points.
The Warriors got off to a dominant start on both ends of the floor in the opening frame, outscoring the Bighorns 34-11. The Warriors’ lock-down defense enabled them to hold the hosts to a mere 21% team shooting effort, en route to notching an all-time franchise record for an opponent low in first quarter points.
The Bighorns re-grouped in the second frame, executing their offense to outscore Santa Cruz 26-20, behind 11 points from Gary Neal in the period. Though Reno would cut into their opening-quarter twenty-five point deficit, the visitors would still hold a 17-point advantage heading into the locker room.
The Bighorns went on a 17-7 run coming out of the break to cut the deficit to seven by the 6:41 mark. Reno would build on their momentum to get within five points after back-to-back triples from Hearn and Neal. The Warriors would hold onto a nine-point edge to start the fourth quarter.
Reno tied the Warriors on a pull-up jump-shot from Gary Neal at the 3:09 mark in the final frame. The lone lead change in the game would come from a made free throw from Papagiannis at the 2:31 mark. The Warriors would tie the Bighorns one final time off a made three-pointer from Henton, but would never take back a lead. In the final second of regulation, a made three-point shot from Scott Wood brought the Warriors within one point with time expiring.
The Warriors will return home tomorrow to take on the Windy City Bulls at 7:00 p.m. PST to celebrate Tie Dye Jersey Night presented by Awe-Sum Organics. The jerseys worn during the match-up will be auctioned off in-game to benefit the Homeless Garden Project. Tickets are still available to attend the game and can be purchased at the Santa Cruz Warriors’ headquarters at 903 Pacific Avenue, online at www.santacruzbasketball.com or over the phone at (831) 713-4400. Fans can also catch the game on Facebook Live by visiting the Santa Cruz Warriors’ Facebook page at tip-off.