The Los Angeles D-Fenders fell to the Santa Cruz Warriors 108-105 at the Toyota Sports Center tonight.
The D-Fenders (2-5) quickly conceded a 12 point deficit to the Warriors (7-3) four minutes into the first quarter, but fought back to cut the Santa Cruz lead to five at the end of the frame. The D-Fenders would cut the lead to two points early in the second with a solid defensive effort, forcing the Warriors into three early turnovers. The half eventually ended with the D-Fenders trailing 54-45, due in large part to the 34.8 field goal percentage posted by Los Angeles in the second quarter. In total, the D-Fenders finished the first half with 22 points in the paint and 14 assists on 18 made field goals.
In the third period, the D-Fenders shot the ball efficiently and knocked down six three-point field goals, including one by Brandon Costner with four minutes to play. That three-point field goal gave the D-Fenders their first lead of the game. Trailing by two points entering the final quarter, the D-Fenders went back-and-forth with the Warriors to the tune of 10 lead changes. For a second straight night, the contest came down to the final few possessions, but the D-Fenders narrowly missed claiming back-to-back wins.
Leading the effort for the D-Fenders was Manny Harris (24 points), Brandon Costner (15 points, nine rebounds), Kareem Rush (14 points) and Josh Magette (10 points, seven assists). Jamario Moon also pitched in a strong all-around effort with 12 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
For Santa Cruz, Seth Curry finished with a double-double (29 points, 13 assists) and Cameron Jones reached his season average with 21 points. Dewayne Dedmon also finished with a double-double (16 points, 18 rebounds), and Daniel Nwaelele (13 points) and Kevin Kotzur (11 points) rounded out the double-digit scorers.
Overall, the D-Fenders shot 41.1 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from the three-point line; however they were outscored 52-38 in the paint. Additionally, the D-Fenders outscored Santa Cruz 23-11 in fast break points, but Los Angeles was out-rebounded 54-41 on the night.