SANTA CRUZ, CA – Reserve guard Kendrick Nunn hit a step-back jumper with 7.7 seconds remaining to give the visiting Santa Cruz Warriors (14-5) a 107-105 win over the Iowa Wolves (7-13) tonight. The two teams will complete their back-to-back set at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa tomorrow night, December 28, at 5:00 p.m. PST.
Nunn scored a game-high 24 points off the bench, his seventh 20-point game of the season and ninth time leading the Sea Dubs in scoring, to go along with eight rebounds and four steals. GuardAntonius Cleveland had 17 points tonight on a career-high four three-pointers, while two-way player Marcus Derrickson had 12 points and six rebounds tonight.
The Iowa Wolves were led by two-way guard Jared Terrell’s 17 points and seven rebounds, including two clutch three pointers with less than 90 seconds remaining to give the Wolves their final two leads. Wolves reserve Hakim Warrick had 17 points on 7-of-8 from the field, and forward William Lee had 15 points and 15 rebounds for the home team.
Tonight’s back-and-forth contest featured 22 lead changes, the most in a Santa Cruz Warriors game this season. Iowa took an early eight-point lead to start the game thanks to forward Canyon Barry scoring nine of the team’s first 16 points, but Santa Cruz fought back to take a three point lead to end the first. The second quarter saw Iowa reserve guard Darius Johnson-Odom scoring 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting, but the Warriors kept a hard-fought 56-53 lead going into halftime thanks to Cleveland’s 14 first-half points.
In the fourth quarter, Derrickson hit a three-pointer to give Santa Cruz a 101-99 lead with less than three minutes remaining. Terrell and Nunn then exchanged clutch buckets and Warriors forwardJuan-Toscano Anderson scored a putback layup to tie the game at 105 with 35 seconds remaining. Cleveland then blocked Johnson-Odom on his drive to the rim, setting up Nunn for his 12-foot jumper to give Santa Cruz their final lead.
The Warriors will conclude their back-to-back against the Iowa Wolves tomorrow night at 5:00 p.m. PST (stream on Facebook Live). The team will then return to Santa Cruz for a home game against the Northern Arizona Suns at Kaiser Permanente Arena at 6:00 p.m. For information on tickets for Sunday and for all Warriors home games, visit santacruzbasketball.com or call (831) 713-4400.