SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – The Santa Cruz Warriors (16-12) defeated the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (17-13) 123-115 on Saturday night in front of a twentieth consecutive sellout crowd at Kaiser Permanente Arena.
The Warriors were paced by Scott Wood who led all scorers with 32 points, while shooting 50% from beyond-the-arc to set an all-time franchise record for made three-pointers in a game. Alex Hamilton added 20 points and 6 assists off the bench, while Dennis Clifford added 18 points and 9 rebounds. Phil Pressey notched a triple-double with 15 points, 14 rebounds, and 13 assists.
Darius Morris led the Vipers with 24 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists. JP Tokoto notched a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Chinanu Onuaku added 17 points and 9 rebounds for the Vipers.
The Vipers opened the game on an 8-0 run, rendering the Warriors scoreless until the 8:18 mark, grabbing an 11-point lead by the close of the first frame.
Scott Wood erupted in the second quarter, scoring 12 of his 32 points on 4-of-7 shooting from beyond-the-arc. Santa Cruz outscored Rio Grande Valley 35-27 in the second quarter, limiting their deficit to 3 points by the break at the half.
Coming out of the break, the Warriors took their first lead of the game off a triple from Phil Pressey in the early minutes of the half. Santa Cruz would carry the new-found momentum through the remainder of the frame, outscoring the Vipers 36-17 to lead by as many as 16 points in the third. Santa Cruz shot 50% from the field, while limiting the Vipers to 27.8%, completely shutting out the visitors from three.
Santa Cruz extended their lead to as many as 18 points in the first minute of the fourth, before a surge from Rio Grande Valley aimed to threaten the host’s strong-hold of the game. The Vipers would rally back to outscore the Warriors 37-29 in the final frame, coming within two possessions of the hosts with 25 seconds left to play in regulation. The visitors’ come-back ultimately fell short as made free throws kept the Vipers at bay with time expiring.
The Santa Cruz Warriors will host the Iowa Energy on Friday, February 3 at 7:00 p.m. PST at Kaiser Permanente Arena. Fans can catch the game on Facebook Live, by visiting the Santa Cruz Warriors’ Facebook page at tip-off.
Santa Cruz Warriors tickets 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.