Austin Spurs fall to Santa Cruz in blowout loss Wednesday


SANTA CRUZ, CA – The Santa Cruz Warriors (20-6) defeated the Austin Spurs (12-15) 116-82 Wednesday night at Kaiser Permanente Arena to give the Warriors their four straight wins and the best record in the NBA G League. The Warriors established new season-highs of 18 steals to generate 27 Spurs turnovers, which resulted in 43 points.

Warriors two-way guard Damion Lee logged team highs of 20 points and seven rebounds in 28 minutes tonight. Two-way forward Marcus Derrickson added 15 points on 3-of-5 from deep to go along with five rebounds. Eight players scored in double figures tonight, including 12 points and a career-high five steals for Antonius Cleveland.

San Antonio Spurs guard Lonnie Walker IV, currently on assignment in Austin, recorded a team-high 20 points on 8-of-15 from the field. Spurs forward DeJuan Blair scored 13 points in just 11 minutes off the bench tonight, with Spurs big man Chimezie Metu, also on assignment from San Antonio, narrowly missing his fifth double-double of the season with nine points and 11 rebounds.

Santa Cruz forced ten Spurs turnovers in the first quarter, including seven steals and three takeaways from Cleveland, to take a 27-20 lead. Austin’s 16 second quarter points, with eight coming from Walker IV, are season lows for the second quarter and first half for a Santa Cruz opponent this season.

The Warriors led by as many as 27 in the third quarter thanks to Lee’s 11 points, including the team’s first four-point play of the season, to take an 84-58 lead. Santa Cruz ratcheted their lead up to a season-high 40 points in the fourth, featuring 13 points from guard Kendrick Nunn on 6-of-7 from the field (85.7 percent FG).

Earlier in the day, the Austin Spurs announced the team had concluded a trade for guard Travis Trice with the Wisconsin Herd. The Spurs give up guard Nick Johnson, the returning rights to Olivier Hanlan and Austin’s own 2019 NBA G League Draft 2nd Round Pick.

Trice (6-2, 177) is averaging 15.4 points, 5.1 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.47 steals in 34.8 minutes over 19 games this season with the Wisconsin Herd. He joined the Herd after spending training camp with the Milwaukee Bucks. The Michigan State Spartan played four years in college, holding career averages of 8.5 points, 2.9 assists and 2.1 rebounds in 23.6 minutes over 134 games played.

Johnson was originally acquired by the Austin Spurs in the middle of the 2015-16 season, where he finished out the campaign. He rejoined the Silver and Black for the 2016-17 season, helping the Spurs to capture the 2018 G League Championship, where he was named Finals MVP. Hanlan was originally acquired by Austin in 2017-18, when he averaged 14.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 30.6 minutes over 44 games.

The Spurs return to the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park to host the South Bay Lakers on Friday, Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m.