SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – The Santa Cruz Warriors (31-19) defeated the Los Angeles D-Fenders (33-16) 127-117 on Friday night in front of a thirtieth consecutive sellout crowd at Kaiser Permanente Arena. Six Warrior players finished in double-digit scoring en route to evening the season series against the D-Fenders 2-2.
Damian Jones, on assignment from the Golden State Warriors, led all scorers with 25 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 blocks. Jabari Brown came off the bench to contribute 21 points and 5 rebounds, while Cleanthony Early added 19 points and 7 rebounds. LaDontae Henton (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Alex Hamilton (15 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds) both came off the bench to finish with double-doubles for Santa Cruz.
The D-Fenders were paced by Troy Devries who finished with 24 points. Justin Harper added a double-double, finishing with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Travis Wear also notched a double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
The Warriors opened the game with high-intensity play, shooting 62.1% from the field while limiting the D-Fenders to 21.7% shooting. Santa Cruz would lead by as many as 24 points in the frame, en route to outscoring Los Angeles 41-17 in the period, tying a franchise record for most points in the opening period.
Santa Cruz would extend their advantage to 27 points in the opening play of the second frame, marking their largest lead of the night. The D-Fenders outscored the Warriors 34-22 in the period, though the Warriors maintained a double-digit lead throughout the quarter and held a 12 point lead at the break.
The D-Fenders would claw their way to a single-digit deficit behind a 9-2 scoring spurt beginning at the 9:53 mark of the third frame. Justin Harper would score all six of his third quarter points during that two minute spree. The Warriors would push back to ultimately outscore Los Angeles 29-25 in the frame, carrying a 92-76 lead into the final period.
Santa Cruz would maintain a double-digit lead through the remainder of the game, increasing their advantage to as many as 22 points.
The Santa Cruz Warriors will tip-off the 2017 NBA D-League Playoffs, presented by Kaiser Permanente, on Wednesday April 5 at 6:30 p.m. PST at Kaiser Permanente Arena. Fans not in attendance can catch the game live on ESPNU or on WatchESPN. While the opponent is yet to be determined for the April 5 match-up, Santa Cruz will host Game 1 of the first round, and play game two, and if necessary, game three, on the road.
Tickets for the 2017 NBA D-League Playoffs, presented by Kaiser Permanente, are on sale now 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.