SANTA CRUZ, CA –The Santa Cruz Warriors (10-4) made a 9-0 fourth quarter run to take a one point lead against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (8-6), but Bruno Caboclo’s layup with eight seconds remaining secured the 96-95 win for the visitors tonight at Kaiser Permanente Arena.
Warriors two-way forward Damion Lee was the leading scorer tonight with 29 points, including a career-high 10-of-14 from the charity stripe, to go along with six rebounds on a team-high 40 minutes. Guard Antonius Cleveland matched his career-high tonight with 20 points, duplicating his total last night against the South Bay Lakers, adding six rebounds and a team-high six assists.
Vipers center Isaiah Hartenstein, currently on assignment from the Houston Rockets, notched 22 points and 23 rebounds, setting an individual rebounding record for a Santa Cruz opponent. His 20-20 game is only the second such game in Sea Dubs history, following former Idaho Stampede big man Jack Cooley’s 21 point, 22 rebound performance on March 7, 2015.
Other notable Rio Grande Valley contributors were guard Brandon Sampson, who scored 19 points by way of four made threes, and forward Michael Frazier’s 15 points and five rebounds.
Rio Grande Valley took a seven point lead to tip-off the game, until Santa Cruz went on a 13-0 run to take a 19-13 lead with three minutes left in the first period. The Warriors forced 13 turnovers in the opening frame, including two eight-second violations, resulting in 19 points to give Santa Cruz a 23-19 lead after the first quarter.
The Vipers slithered back into the game thanks to 14 second quarter points from Hartenstein to give the visitors a 51-48 lead at halftime. The Vipers built their lead to 11 points early in the third quarter, thanks to guard Vincent Edwards scoring eight of his 12 points on perfect shooting (3-of-3 FG, 2-of-2 3FG) in the quarter.
Will Cherry played the entire fourth, scoring seven points to lead a 9-0 fourth quarter comeback to gain a one point advantage with 29 seconds remaining. Caboclo’s layup with eight seconds remaining then left the game in Lee’s hands, but his 10 foot fadeaway shot fell short, giving the Vipers a late win and ending their three-game road trip on a high note.
The Warriors will host the Sioux Falls Skyforce next Friday, December 14 at Kaiser Permanente Arena (7:00 p.m. PST, NBC Sports Bay Area Plus). The first 1,500 fans to arrive will receive a cell phone wallet, courtesy of Santa Cruz Dental Group. For information on tickets for Friday night and for all Santa Cruz Warriors home games, visitsantacruzbasketball.com or call (831) 713-4400.