SANTA CRUZ – The Los Angeles D-Fenders fell to the Santa Cruz Warriors 122-95 tonight at the Kaiser Permanente Arena.
The D-Fenders were led by Manny Harris (28 points, six rebounds), Roscoe Smith (22 points, 18 rebounds and three assists), Naadir Tharpe (14 points, five assists and three rebounds) and Vander Blue (10 points, seven assists and five rebounds). Jabari Brown finished with 13 points and five rebounds off the bench for Los Angeles.
Justin Holiday (26 points, 6 rebounds and four assists) James Michael McAdoo (24 points, 8 rebounds), Elliot Williams (16 points, four rebounds and four assists), Joe Alexander (15 points, five rebounds) and Carrick Felix (13 points, six assists and three rebounds) all scored in double figures for Santa Cruz.
The D-Fenders fell behind early on in the first after an offensive foul led to a 5-0 run for the Warriors. Los Angeles would pick up the pace, however, as the teams traded baskets for much of the quarter with Santa Cruz leading 28-26 after one. Harris and Tharpe netted seven points each in the first quarter for the D-Fenders. The game continued its back-and-forth pace through the second quarter, with Santa Cruz taking a 55-50 lead into half. Harris finished the half with a game-high 16 points while Smith contributed a double-double behind 13 points and 10 rebounds. Holiday had a team-high 13 points while Alexander contributed 9 points on the half for Santa Cruz.
Los Angeles struggled to start the second half, falling behind 62-50 after a 7-0 run by Santa Cruz. The struggles continued with the D-Fenders trailing 68-53 after a 13-3 run for the Warriors to start the quarter. Blue’s four-point play brought the D-Fenders back to within single digits (68-59), with six minutes remaining in the quarter. Los Angeles fought back, ending the third down only five points (81-76), after trailing by as many as 15.
A slow start to the fourth quarter left the D-Fenders down 97-84 after five minutes of play. Santa Cruz pushed their lead to 21 (107-86) after a three-point play from McAdoo with 5:48 to play. The Warriors continued to build on their lead, outscoring the D-Fenders 37-13 in the first 10 minutes of the quarter. Los Angeles continued to struggle in the final two minutes, as they fell to the Warriors, 122-95.
Overall, the D-Fenders shot .430 from the field, while the Warriors finished at .500. Turnovers proved to be the difference for Los Angeles, as they turned the ball over 25 times compared to just 15 for Santa Cruz.