Santa Cruz Warriors Drop Close Game to Grand Rapids

Santa Cruz Warriors lose 126-124 to Grand Rapids Drive at Kaiser Permanente Arena on Friday.

The Santa Cruz Warriors (10-9) didn’t start the New Year with a win Friday night at Kaiser Permanente Arena, losing 126-124 to the Grand Rapids Drive (11-10). Santa Cruz will go on a two-game road trip starting on Sunday with the Austin Spurs, later ending their tour of Texas with a stop Monday against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

Santa Cruz returns home on Wednesday, Jan. 11 for a 7:00 p.m. PST game against the Canton Charge. The first 1,500 fans will have a chance to receive a Kevin Durant bobblehead.

Despite not being able to secure a win for his birthday, LaDontae Henton was absolutely excellent for Santa Cruz, pacing the team with 26 points (10-18 FG, 5-10 3P). Dennis Clifford continued his strong play, recording 20 points and eight rebounds on the night.

Two Santa Cruz players posted double-doubles on the night, those two guys being Phil Pressey (17 points, 12 assists, seven rebounds and five steals) and Damian Jones (13 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks).

Of note: Jones matched his season-high in field goal attempts (9) against the Drive on Friday. He’s played 30+ minutes just three times this season, each time matching his season-high in field goal attempts. Just to reference Jones’ two other performances: he had a career-high 15 points against the Northern Arizona Suns (Dec. 16), and 10 points against the Erie Bayhawks (Dec. 23). 

Three other Santa Cruz players scored in double-digits, including Scott Wood (18), newcomer Cleanthony Early (10), and Alex Hamilton (10). Hamilton also added six assists and four rebounds.

Former Golden State Warriors guard Jordan Crawford — now playing D-League with the Drive this season — led all scorers with 31 points, five boards, and seven assists. Kevin Murphy contributed 30 points and seven rebounds, Ray McCallum and Nikola Jovanovic each tallied 14 points, and Chris Horton added 10 points off the bench for Grand Rapids.

Due to Friday’s game being shown on ESPNU, Blue Man Hoop is unfortunately unable to provide the game replay via Facebook Live. However, please enjoy these Damian Jones highlights.

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