Texas throttles Santa Cruz 120-107, keeps playoff hopes alive
Santa Cruz, CA – The Texas Legends came to Surf City and punched the Santa Cruz Warriors in the mouth with a 120-107 victory Friday night.
Pierre Jackson, led the Legends (23-20) with 25 points on 7-of-20 from the field while grabbing 12 rebounds and dishing out nine assists. Jameel Warney chipped in with 24 points on 9-of-17 from the floor and grabbed 13 rebounds.
Stephane Lasme clogged the paint on the defensive end for Texas with eight blocks to go with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Santa Cruz (25-19) were led by Damian Jones, on assignment from Golden State, who scored a career-high 22 points with nine rebounds.
With the loss, the Warriors are just a half-game back of the Sioux Falls Skyforce for the fourth, and final, playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Legends are still in playoff contention trailing Sioux Falls by just two games in the standings. Both teams will meet again on Saturday night at Kaiser Permanente Arena.
It was a fast-paced, explosive first-half at Kaiser Permanente Arena as the Santa Cruz Warriors and Texas Legends both fight for a playoff berth.
Santa Cruz struck first, leading 22-12 early in the first quarter, but a 7-0 run by Texas cut the lead to three. Alex Hamilton hit an off-balance, three-point heave to close the first 12 minutes and give the Warriors a 33-25 lead.
The second quarter moved just as fast as Texas pushed the tempo. The Legends averaged the third-most points per game in the D-League this season heading into Friday night’s game (117.7).
Santa Cruz led by as many as 13 points in the first half but Texas would not give up as Jameel Warney helped keep them in the game. Warney finished the first half with 14 points on 5-of-7 from the field and six rebounds.
Three-point champion Scott Wood paced the Warriors in the opening 24 minutes with 14 points of his own on 5-of-7 from the floor, including 4-of-6 from long distance. He finished with 18 points in the contest.
Both teams shot 44% from the floor in the first half, while Texas just shot 18.8% (3-16) from three-point range during that span.
Both teams continued to battle throughout the third quarter, with Texas taking its first lead of the game with five minutes to play in the frame on a Kyle Collinsworth layup. Texas smelled blood in the water as they closed the third with a 97-83 lead heading into the fourth. Texas outscored Santa Cruz 43-22 in the third.
The Warriors never regained the lead in the fourth quarter, and were outscored 31-17 on fast break points against the Legends. The Warriors outscored the Legends in points in the paint (58-48), and second chance points (25-20).
Listen to Santa Cruz Warriors head coach Casey Hill post game on the team’s loss and their third quarter frustrations.