THOUSAND OAKS, CA – UC Santa Cruz did just enough in the second half to post a 68-63 win over the Caltech men's basketball team on Saturday evening.
The Banana Slugs overcame high scoring evenings from Caltech's Michael Edwards and Andrew Hogue. Edwards scored a game high 24 points in 27 minutes of action while Hogue scored a career high 22 points on the strength of four made three-pointers.
UC Santa Cruz held the lead through the game's first five-plus minutes but when Bryan Joel hit a jumper with 14:10 left in the stanza Caltech never trailed the rest of the half. The Beavers built their lead to as large as eight points at 27-19 with 3:05 remaining after an Edwards shot from behind the arc.
The Banana Slugs scored the final eight points of the stanza capped off by a Jared Ponce three-pointer with four seconds left until halftime. The teams went into the locker room knotted at 27-27.
Coming out the locker room the Banana Slugs grabbed the lead on a James Townsend jumper on their second possession of the half. The Beavers nailed three-pointers on two of their next three possessions to grab a four-point edge at 33-29 with 16:32 remaining. However, the Banana Slug rattled off a scoring spree to grab the momentum.
UC Santa Cruz scored 16 of the contest's next 19 points as they built a 45-36 advantage just before the midway point of the second half. The Beavers chipped away and got within 47-46 after a Hogue shot from distance with 7:36 left to play.
The Banana Slugs responded to Caltech's pressure as they grabbed the largest lead of the game at 63-52 with 3:06 left. Yet Caltech had one final push left. Aided by timely scoring and seven straight missed free throws by UC Santa Cruz; Caltech was down 63-61 after an Edwards jumper with 58 seconds left.
Townsend made just one of two free throws on the Banana Slugs next possession to keep Caltech within striking distance. On the Beavers ensuing possession they couldn't capitalize as Edwards missed a jumper with 14 seconds left. After struggling to hit foul shots most of the second half, the Banana Slugs found their stroke by making their final four shots from the charity stripe to seal the win.
Trent Reeves scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half to pace the Banana Slugs. Zach Smith chipped in with 11 and Ponce rounded out the UC Santa Cruz scorers in double-figures with 10.
The game was a part of the SCIAC Classic. In the earlier contest Puget Sound tallied a 63-61 win over Cal Lutheran. The four teams will play tomorrow at the Braun Athletic Center with Cal Lutheran tipping off against UC Santa Cruz at 1:00 p.m. followed by a 3:00 p.m. contest between Caltech and Puget Sound.