The Santa Cruz Warriors rewarded the sellout crowd on hand for their inaugural home game with a 93-88 win over the Bakersfield Jam last night.
It was not only the first professional basketball game in the history of Kaiser Permanente Arena, but also the first regular season professional basketball game played in Santa Cruz.
Golden State Warriors players Kent Bazemore and Jeremey Tyler were assigned to the Santa Cruz for the game and played key roles in the victory. Bazemore led the team with 18 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter to help the team withstand a late run by Bakersfield. Tyler hauled in a game-high 12 rebounds, including six offensive boards.
James Nunnally, who has been providing the Jam with a boost off the bench all season, finished with a game-high 19 points. Jam center Brian Butch, who is ranked among the top NBA prospects by Ridiculous Upside, had an impact on the game with his ability to spread the floor with his 3-point shooting - although he was 3-for-9 from beyond the arc, he forced Warriors posts to leave the paint to respect his shot, which often went in and out if it missed.
Yet the Santa Cruz Warriors' release noted yet another strong defensive effort against the Jam, highlighted by a third quarter in which the visitors were held to just 14 points on 27.3% shooting while committing 7 turnovers.
The Warriors were again led by their defense, holding the Jam to 36.7% shooting from the field. The Warriors again out-rebounded their opponent 52-47. The Jam's biggest lead came early in the first quarter with 5, while the Warriors led by as much as 15 near the end of the third quarter.
The Warriors return to action at Kaiser Permanente Arena on Thursday at 7 p.m. to face the Springfield Armor.
For more on the game, stay tuned to our Warriors-Jam storystream.