The Texas Legends (8-16) posted a 45-point third quarter to erase a 13-point Santa Cruz lead but were unable to maintain the pace, falling in the final seconds to the visiting Warriors (17-6) 116-121.
After nine back-and-forths in the first, Santa Cruz took control and held the lead for the final three minutes. Kendrick Nunn opened the second with back-to-back threes to put the Warriors up by nine, but the Legends responded with a 15-2 run to take their largest lead of the half (+4). Santa Cruz finished the second with a 20-5 streak to lead 65-54 going into the locker room.
Texas burst through 11 unanswered points to open the third, setting the pace for a dominant quarter. Nearly doubling the visitors’ points, Texas shot 77% (63% outside) for a 45-24 third. Ray Spalding and Wade Baldwin IV combined for 21 points to lead the Legends’ efforts, putting a 26-point swing on the quarter as they led by 15 in the final seconds. The gap proved no match for the hot shooting Warriors who finished the night at 50% overall and 46% outside. Midway through the fourth the Legends held onto a nine-point advantage but the visitors continued to chip away. With 2:24 to play, Damion Lee and Justin Dentmon exchanged baskets for four more lead changes before a long ball from Darius Morris gave the Warriors the go-ahead lead.
Texas had five players in double-digits, three with 20-point nights, and one with a double-double. Spalding led Texas with game-highs in scoring (25), rebounds (11), and blocks (4) alongside Dentmon who tied the game-high 25 points and added 3 assists, 2 steals. Baldwin, on assignment from the Portland Trail Blazers, came off the bench for 24 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals while fellow Trail Blazer assignee Caleb Swanigan added 13 points, 8 rebounds.
Lee led the Warriors with 23 points, 8 rebounds while Marcus Derrickson and Nunn added 16 points each. Morris finished with 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 7 assists.
The Legends will hit the road for a three-game stretch against the Capital City Go-Go Tuesday at 6pm CT, Lakeland Magic on Friday at 6pm CT, and Memphis Hustle on Saturday at 7pm CT. Fans can catch all the action live at www.TexLegends.com.