The Santa Cruz Warriors survived a late game scare from the visiting Reno Bighorns to win their fourth game in a row, and finish their eight-game home stand at 7-1, 110-103.
On a night where the Warriors(26-13) were given the keys to two NBA Ferrari's in Kent Bazemore and Malcolm Thomas, who were on assignment from the Golden State Warriors, center Hilton Armstrong was the man that gave them them the biggest boost finishing with a career-high 30 points.
"It meant so much to me," Armstrong said about his performance. "When I hit that free-throw to put me at 30 I looked over that the bench, because everyone knew I was happy. It was a great feeling."
The Warriors controlled the Bighorns(13-26) for the first three quarters despite having 18 turnovers, compared to the Bighorns 10. However Reno would go on a 13-2 run to open the final period and tie the game at 86.
The Warriors would respond as the Bazemore hit a big jump shot and Darington Hobson nailed a 3-pointer to give the Warriors the lead back. The Horns would go on a 9-3 run that culminated with a corner three from Dar Tucker to give them the one-point lead 95-94. Mickell Gladness would answer back with a three-point play to give the Warriors back the lead for good.
"It was a sloppy game," said Warriors head coach Nate Bjorkgren. "I thought both teams played hard, and I was really pleased with the finish. We got defensive stops when we needed them."
Despite being out shined by Armstrong, both Bazemore and Thomas had solid nights. Bazemore finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocks. Thomas had a game-high 15 rebounds and dropped in eight points. Darington Hobson and Gladness both added 13 points.
The Bighorns were lead by Dar Tucker and Samardo Samuels. Both players had double-doubles and finished with 29 points. Desmond Farmer had 12 points.
The win brings the Warriors to just a half game back of the Bakersfield Jam for the top spot in the D-League. It also brings the Warriors to 16-2 while playing at Kaiser Permanete Arena.
"They(the fans) really are a part of this team," said Armstrong. "I know a lot of places say that, but we truly believe that. When we play in front of them, they're playing with us. We really appreciate it."
"Even NBA games, it's not anywhere comparable to the energy comes off of this place and it's a great thing to have."
The Warriors will now hit the road to face the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and Texas Legends later this week.