Men's hoops: Slugs take down Whittier Poets

After tough defeat, Slugs rally back with first win in Washington in nine years

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The UCSC men's basketball team and head coach Gordy Johnson got a visit from Santa during a road trip to the Whitworth Classic in Spokane, Wash.
After a tough defeat Friday night to host Whitworth College, the UCSC men's basketball team rallied back to defeat the Whittier Poets 53-47 on Saturday, December 11, at the Whitworth Classic Tournament in Spokane, Wash.

This was their first victory in the state of Washington in nine years. The game was close, but with 24 seconds left, a Brent Jacob free throw would make the final margin six points and secure the win for the Slugs. 

Holding Whittier without a field goal for the last 6:49 of the game and scoreless for the last 4:34 of the game, Santa Cruz was able to avenge last week’s loss to the Poets. In doing so, the Slugs held Whittier to just 24 percent from the field in the second half and 5.6 percent for three-pointers. 

With shooting cold, the defense pressure turned up the heat, forcing Whittier into seven missed shots and three turnovers in those last seven minutes. Senior Jacob Moore pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds before going out of the game with a shoulder injury with 1:43 left. 

Senior Ryan Matsuoka led the Slugs in scoring with 12 points, and junior Jamien Jones was 5-6 from the field for 10 points. 

Dropping the Poets to 4-3, the Slugs ran their record to 5-7. 

Next up for UCSC is the SCIAC Challenge with games at Cal Tech this Saturday and at Cal Lutheran on December 19.