SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – The Santa Cruz Warriors defeated the Oklahoma City Blue 117-102 this evening at Kaiser Permanente Arena in front of a sold-out crowd. Following tonight’s victory, Santa Cruz will advance to the Western Conference Finals to face the Rio Grande Valley Vipers Tuesday night in Edinburg, Texas at 6:00 p.m. PDT on ESPNU.
Guard Kendrick Nunn secured a game-high 31 points tonight off the bench, including a 16-point second quarter outburst to help Santa Cruz to a record-setting 43-point period. Warriors two-way guard Damion Lee notched 16 points with seven rebounds and four assists, and forward Jacob Evans III, on assignment from Golden State, finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two blocked shots.
The Oklahoma City Blue were led by forward Scotty Hopson’s 21 points, seven rebounds and three blocks tonight. Forward Kevin Hervey logged his sixth double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and reserve Bryce Alford had 16 points off the bench via four made threes.
The Warriors built a double-digit first quarter lead, 34-23, by shooting 50.0 percent from the floor, including five threes at the same 50.0 percent clip, while holding Oklahoma City to 1-of-9 from three (11.1 percent 3FG).
Nunn’s 16 second-quarter points helped Santa Cruz close the quarter on a 20-7 run to take their largest lead of the game at halftime, 77-50. Santa Cruz scored a season-high-tying 43 second quarter points, marking the second highest scoring quarter in the team’s postseason history, just one point off the 44 point third quarter effort on April 12, 2014 against the Los Angeles D-Fenders.
Despite trailing by as many as 27 points in the third, the Blue closed the quarter on a 16-4 run to bring the deficit down to 99-84 heading into the final frame. Oklahoma City then went on a 13-1 run in the fourth to bring the lead down to eight, 105-97, with four minutes remaining. Nunn then responded with back-to-back jumpers to bump the lead back up to double digits to secure the win.