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Santa Cruz wallops Ignite in return to Dollar Loan Center

The short-handed NBA G League Ignite got even shorter as the team was drubbed by 25 points in their return to The Dollar Loan Center.


Santa Cruz handled the Ignite, 125-100, Thursday, Jan. 6 from The DLC. The developmental group was coming off a 2-0 trip to Birmingham most recently.


Prior to this outcome, the Ignite (3-2) had beaten the Warriors (1-2) two out of the three times the two groups met prior to the G League Showcase.


“We’ve got to play better defense,” head coach Jason Hart said. “We’ve got to stop the other team from scoring and we’ve got to dig in.”


Hosting Santa Cruz kicked off a seven-game homestand, the team’s longest of the season. The homestand will continue Friday, Jan. 6 when the two teams will tip it off again. Gametime is set for 7 p.m.


This will be the third time this year and first time in the regular season that the Ignite will play games on back-to-back days. Overall, the team will play in 10 such instances this season.


“You never get used to these types of games this much,” Hart said. “This is not even an NBA schedule, it’s a little bit harder than that.”


A dunk from guard Cameron Young took a turn for the worse after the play was immediately reviewed for a hostile act.


“When I seen it – I’m going to be honest, he shouldn’t have done that,” Hart said. “I think it wasn’t called for, for him to hit the dude in the back of the head. At that point, it’s sportsmanship and we’ve got to be better at that in moments in the game like that.”


After officials reviewed the dunk and subsequent post-basket swipe, Young was ejected from the game.

Prior to the technical foul free throw make, the Warriors had a 45-41 lead. From that point, the Ignite would be outscored 80-59 the rest of the way.


“We were already getting dug out at that point,” Hart said. “It was 46-41 when he did that and we got the tech. They [just] made too many shots tonight.”


It began with a 22-12 run that sent Santa Cruz into the halftime locker room with a 14-point edge. Not long into the third quarter, the lead grew to 19 points and eventually was extended to 25.


Late in the third quarter, the Ignite sparked an 8-0 run to trim the deficit to 11 but would never inch closer than that.


“We had a certain confidence where we wanted to come out there and do what we did [in the first two wins against Santa Cruz],” forward Babacar Sane said. “But unfortunately, we lost the game but I think we’re going to come back better.”


Before Young’s ejection, the team was already without guards Scoot Henderson and John Jenkins as they continue to work themselves back from injury. In addition to those two guards, center Efe Abogidi was not in uniform.


The team had a nine-hour flight back from Alabama ahead of their back-to-back schedule.


Knowing the team would need scoring forward Leonard Miller scored eight of the team’s first 12 points. He tallied eight points and six rebounds in the first quarter on his way to a 12-point, six-rebound first half.


Miller finished with 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting to go along with eight rebounds.


Sane scored a season-high 17 points to match Miller’s outing as he did so on 6-of-13 from the field.


“Right now, I’m still learning the game,” Sane said “The game is fast and I’m learning to be more comfortable on the court. I think that I will get there one day.”


Five other players scored in double-figures in guards Marcus Graves (12 points), Aubrey Dawkins (11 points), Mojave King (11 points), London Johnson (10 points) and Sidy Cissoko (10 points).

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