SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — The Santa Cruz Warriors nearly set a franchise record for first half points, and continued their hot shooting to start the 2018-19 season during a 123-104 win over the visiting Stockton Kings on Opening Night.
The Warriors scored 79 points in the first half, a well-balanced attack that saw ten players score on a combined 63.3% shooting from the field (31-of-49 FG) and a sizzling 75.0% from three (12-of-16 3FG). The Sea Dubs were only two points away from tying the team’s first-half franchise scoring record of 81 points, which was set on January 23, 2015 against the Reno Bighorns, the Sacramento Kings G League affiliate before the team relocated to Stockton this summer.
Warriors two-way guard Damion Lee held team-highs of 28 points and eight rebounds. Santa Cruz guard Darius Morris scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half, including a buzzer beating fade away jumper to end the first quarter. Guard Will Cherry filled the stat sheet with 15 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Stockton’s Kalin Lucas led both teams with 29 points on 11-of 20 from the field (55.0 FG%), and forward Reggie Hearn, a teammate of Lee’s on the USA Basketball World Cup Qualifying Team last February, had ten points and a game-high nine rebounds. Six players scored in double figures for Stockton tonight.
Santa Cruz built on their first-half proficiency to lead by as many as 37 points in the third quarter. But Stockton went on a 17-6 run towards the end of the period and brought the lead down to as few as 15 points. Santa Cruz was able to hold on thanks to solid fourth quarter minutes from Kendrick Nunn (six points) and Lee (five points, four rebounds), while guard Antonius Cleveland had a reverse baseline slam that ended #1 on the SportsCenter Top Ten.