Santa Cruz Warriors guard Pat Spencer, No. 61, celebrates against the Salt Lake City Stars during the teams' NBA G-League playoff game at Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz on April 2. (Mike Rasay/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Santa Cruz Warriors shined in the opening round of the NBA G League playoffs with a 113-111 win over the No. 5 seed Salt Lake City Stars at Kaiser Permanente Arena on Tuesday evening.

Two-way guard Pat Spencer came off the bench with a team-best 20 points to go with six rebounds and six assists for the No. 4 seed Warriors, who hosted a playoff game for the first time since the 2018-19 season.

With the win, Santa Cruz advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals to take on the top seed Stockton Kings on Thursday at 7pm.

Santa Cruz two-way center Usman Garuba recorded a double-double, notching 18 points and 19 rebounds to set a new franchise record in postseason rebounds. Javan Johnson added 18 points, while Kendric Davis finished with 14 points and 11 assists for the Warriors.   

SLC forward Darius Bazley—on assignment from the Utah Jazz—led both teams in scoring with 30 points to go along with 12 rebounds and five assists. 

Fellow teammate Kenneth Lofton Jr., also on assignment from Utah, followed with 19 points, and two-way guard Johnny Juzang contributed 18 points and seven rebounds for the Stars.

A pair of 3-pointers by the Warriors gave them an early lead, but the Stars found their footing and built a 21-10 advantage in the first quarter. Santa Cruz’s offense narrowed the gap at 25-20 to close out the opening frame. 

The Sea Dubs carried their momentum into the second quarter with three 3-pointers from Johnson and built a 52-46 lead going into halftime.

In the third quarter, SLC tied the game at 59-all before pushing ahead to take a 63-59 lead. The Sea Dubs quickly responded with eight points from Rowe and back-to-back 3-pointers from Davis, giving them back the advantage at 85-76. 

SLC came out strong in the fourth, clawing back with an 8-0 run to regain a 90-89 lead with less than eight minutes remaining in the game. A pair of 3-pointers from Spencer helped the Sea Dubs take a 112-106 lead down the final stretch and never looked back.

Santa Cruz will play Stockton on Thursday at 7pm. The contest is streaming on Tubi.  

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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