The Santa Cruz Warriors had five players in double-figures and they used every single one to keep the Austin Toros at arms length and come away with the 106-101 win.
After entering the D-League playoffs on a three game losing streak, the Warriors have flipped the switch and have won their last three.
Now, after Wednesday night’s win, they are just one game away from the D-League Finals.
Even more important is that Sea Dubs will have two chances to win one game; both at home in Kaiser Permanente where the Warriors are 20-5 this season.
It was a back-and-forth game early on until the second quarter when the Warriors took off on a 22-5 run to gain a 12-point lead with 5:14 left in the half.
The Warriors kept up the tempo on the offensive end of the court and went into the break up by seven points.
The Toros never threatened the Warriors until the 6:54 mark of the third quarter when Jamarr Sanders hit two shots to cut the lead to just two points.
With the Warriors needing a basket to create some breathing room Cameron Jones skied for a put back layup and then dropped in a finger roll to extend the lead to six points.
The Toros didn’t shy away just yet, as Dontell Jefferson slammed two back-to-back dunks to cut the lead to two points once again.
Warrior’s head coach Nate Bjorkgren took a timeout.
It was defining moment for the Warriors season and like a team that has been there before the responded.
Travis Leslie, Jeremy Tyler and Stefhon Hannah all combined to send the Warriors on a 10-2 run to stretch their lead back to 10 points to end the quarter.
The deficit was too much for the Toros to make up and the Warriors cruised to the 1-0 playoff series lead.
Hannah led all Warriors with 19 points. He also added six assists. Tyler had 17 points and six rebounds. Travis Leslie chipped in 16 points and grabbed six rebounds as well. Lance Goulbourne played well off the bench dropping in 12 points and leading the Warriors with seven rebounds.
Lester Hudson had a game-high 25 points for the Toros and hit five 3-point shots. JaMychal Green pulled down a game-high 16 boards. Sanders added 17 points.
The Warriors will have a chance to close out the series with a clean sweep at home on Friday night. If the Toros do win on Friday and stay alive then the deciding game three will take place on Monday in Santa Cruz.
The winner of this series will play the winner of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and Tulsa 66ers series in the D-League finals.
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