Santa Cruz Warriors Fail to Go Back-to-Back v. Stars

Santa Cruz Warriors lose second game of back-to-back series hosting the Salt Lake City Stars.

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Last Saturday night, the Golden State Warriors D-League affiliate Santa Cruz Warriors (13-11) were once again involved in a close, grueling battle against the Salt Lake City Stars (7-17) at Kaiser Permanente Arena, this time losing the contest 102-94.

Long story, short: The Stars got exactly what they wanted for most of the night, masterfully keeping control of the momentum late in the game to keep Santa Cruz from staging yet another comeback.

The Sea Dubs were coming off a 113-104 victory over Salt Lake City (SLC) the night before, a game which Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green notably came to watch. With Kevon Looney, Patrick McCaw, and Damian Jones all in uniform for Surf City, Friday night’s matchup was quite the spectacle.

Unfortunately, Santa Cruz was unable to sweep the Stars in their two games leading up to the D-League Showcase in Mississaugua, Ont. — Canada. As part of the Showcase, SCW is scheduled to face the Oklahoma City Blue on Thursday, Jan. 19 at 5:30 p.m. PST (NBA TV), as well as the Texas Legends on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 7:00 a.m. PST.

Asking head coach Casey Hill on whether there’s any added pressure going into the biggest D-League event of the season, Hill responded that the pressure more so comes from the guys looking to earn a call-up, and that it’s his job to make sure the team stays ready to put themselves in the best position possible to earn that opportunity.

“They put the pressure on themselves, so I’m trying to ease that pressure just by making sure they’re [1] as prepared as possible going into it, and [2] they know exactly what they’re supposed to do to be successful and show out the way that they need to,” said Hill.

Last Saturday’s lost still had a couple high points, however: Dennis Clifford finished with 26 points (11-15 FG, 4-8 FT), eight rebounds, and four assists, and Phil Pressey contributed 24 points and five assists.

Golden State Warriors assignee Damian Jones had 12 points (5-8 FG, 2-2 FT), four rebounds, two assists, one steal, and two blocks. Jones told Blue Man Hoop postgame that the loss to the Stars was the last game in his six-game assignment. The team officially announced that Jones had been called up Sunday morning.

James Southerland also scored in double-digits for the Sea Dubs, adding in 11 points, five rebounds, two assists, three steals, and three blocks off the bench. Santa Cruz tried to get him going late, but Southerland unfortunately couldn’t replicate the 29-point performance he had the night before.

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