OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma – The Santa Cruz Warriors (18-16) fell to the Oklahoma City Blue (26-11) 109-100 on Tuesday night at Cox Convention Center.
James Southerland and Dennis Clifford led the Warriors with 17 points apiece. Scott Wood notched a double-double, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Phil Pressey also finished with a double-double adding 12 points, 13 assists, and 6 rebounds. LaDontae Henton added 13 points off the bench.
The Blue was paced by Dakari Johnson, who recorded a double-double, finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Jannero Pargo added 16 points and 6 assists off the bench, while Dez Wells contributed with 13 points. Kaleb Tarczewski notched a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds off the bench for Oklahoma City.
Though Santa Cruz would own a 60% team shooting effort in the opening frame, turnovers and fouls plagued both teams early. The Warriors committed more turnovers than the Blue (11-9) and committed 11 fouls in the first quarter which helped the hosts come within one possession entering the second period.
The Warriors’ offense would continue to ramp up in the second period behind a 65% team shooting effort. The Blue’s three-point shooting kept them within striking distance of the visitors, accounting for 18 of Oklahoma City’s 32 points in the frame. Santa Cruz entered the locker-room edging the Blue by three points.
Coming out of the break, the Warriors extended their lead to as many as 9 points before Oklahoma City’s 20-3 run willed them to a 7-point lead. The Blue increased their distance from the visitors by as many as 11 points in the frame, though the Warriors would chip away at the deficit to enter the fourth trailing by single-digits.
The final frame of regulation would see Oklahoma City expand their lead to as many as 17 points to cruise to a victory and complete a 2-0 shut-out of the Warriors in three days.
The Warriors will not play again for eight days due to the upcoming All-Star break. Santa Cruz center Dennis Clifford will represent the Western Conference in the 2017 NBA D-League All-Star Game presented by Kumho Tire airing on NBA TV on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 11:30 a.m. PST from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. In addition, Scott Wood will be competing in the Three-Point Contest during the half-time of the All-Star Game.
Coming out of the weekend, the Santa Cruz Warriors will return home to take on the Reno Bighorns on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 7:00 p.m. PST as Kaiser Permanente Arena. Fans can catch the game on Facebook Live, by visiting the Santa Cruz Warriors’ Facebook page at tip-off.
Santa Cruz Warriors tickets 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.