The Santa Cruz Warriors were handed their first loss at Kaiser Permanente Arena as they were taken down by the visiting Bakersfield Jam, 99-89.
The stories of the game were turnovers and lapses in the Warriors defense. They committed 21 turnovers in the game.
“I thought we fought,” said head coach Nate Bjorkgren. “Things just didn’t go our way to well when we started getting close. We had a couple breakdowns, and we just didn’t get it done tonight.”
Stefhon Hannah carried the Warriors as he had 18 points in the first half and kept the game tight. They would go into halftime down by just two points, 47-45.
“My scoring has been off a little lately,” said Hannah, who flirted with a triple-double finishing with 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. “But they(team) had confidence in me. They kept telling me to shoot the ball, and don’t stop playing my game, so tonight it was falling.”
The second half was a different story for the Warriors defensively. After both teams made runs and swapped leads early in the third, the Jam took the lead and never looked back. They extended their lead to as big as 20 points late in the third after Renaldo Major hit a deep three.
Major finished with 16 points on the night for the Jam, and was one of four players in double figures for the visitors from Bakersfield. Jerel McNeal was the high man for the Jam scoring 21 points. Brian Butch had a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
The Warriors would have make a run and claw their way back into the game late in the fourth. They cut the lead down to just seven points with 2:28 left in the game after Taylor Griffin finished at the rim with an easy lay-up. That’s as close as they would get though as the Jam pulled away and hung on for the win.
“It seems like it takes something for us to start playing hard.” Said Hannah. “We got down early in the game so that made us play harder, and then we brought the deficit down to two, by the half. Then we got up a little bit and got a little comfortable, but we’re trying. We just have to stop being comfortable.”
Hannah was one of three players in double figures for the Warriors. Cameron Jones finished with 15 points and Taylor Griffin had 16 and added nine rebounds.
"There's no excuses," said Hannah. "We didn't play well as a team. We're going to get better. We're going to get in the lab and just practice."
The loss drops the Warriors to 14-8 and back into second place in the West division of the NBA D-League. The Warriors now start a seven game road trip with the first game against the Maine Red Claws on Friday the 25th.