SANTA CRUZ, CA –Darius Morris hit a go-ahead three with 37 seconds remaining to give the Santa Cruz Warriors (17-6) a 121-116 win over the Texas Legends (8-15) tonight at Dr. Pepper Arena. Santa Cruz finished the night on an 18-4 run and held the Legends to just 17 fourth quarter points to secure the victory.
Two-way guard Damion Lee scored a team-high 23 points on 8-of-14 from the field to go along with eight rebounds. Guard Kendrick Nunn chipped in 16 points and six assists, and two-way forward Marcus Derrickson had 16 points on 6-of-11 from the field (54.5 percent) and a team-high 3-of-5 from behind the arc. The Warriors are once again tied with the Oklahoma City Blue (17-6) for the best record in the NBA G League.
The Texas Legends had three 20-point scorers, including two-way forward Ray Spalding’s 25 points on 10-of-13 from the field along with 11 rebounds and four blocks. Guard Justin Dentmon notched 25 points courtesy of 11-of-12 from the free throw line. Portland Trail Blazers guard Wade Baldwin IV, currently on assignment in Portland, scored 24 points to go along with four rebounds, two assists and three steals.
The Warriors, who average 44.7 percent shooting from the field going into tonight, shot 55.6 percent in the first half (25-of-45 FG), the best shooting opening half for the team since Opening Night. Forward Juan Toscano Anderson made a fast impact off the bench, scoring nine points in just three minutes and 22 seconds to help Santa Cruz to a 65-54 halftime lead.
The Legends then came out of the locker room on an 11-0 run to tie the game, which was just a prelude to their 45 third quarter points. The Legends 45-point effort is the most by an opponent in Santa Cruz Warriors history, and ended with the home team taking a 10 point lead going into the fourth quarter, 99-89.
Lee carried the scoring load for Santa Cruz midway through the final period, scoring 12 consecutive points over a four minute stretch (4-of-6 FG) to regain the team’s lead, 115-114, with 1:20 remaining. Returning Texas guard Justin Dentmon hit two free throws to give the Legends a narrow advantage, but the Morris three-pointer and preceding three free throws from the veteran cemented the five-point win for the Warriors.
The Santa Cruz Warriors will continue their ten-day Texas road trip on Thursday, January 10 against the Austin Spurs (tip-off 5:50 p.m. PST) in Cedar Park. The Warriors will host a rematch against the 2018 Defending Champions less than a week later at Kaiser Permanente Arena on Wednesday, January 16 (tip-off 7:00 p.m. PST), with the first 1,500 fans in attendance receiving a Splash Brothers bobblehead. For tickets to all Warriors home games, visit santacruzbasketball.com or call (831) 713-4400.