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December 22, 2013

Point Guard Play Leads Oxy Past UC Santa Cruz

ORANGE — Good point guard play makes a big difference.

Kory Hamane and Chad Tanioka combined for 20 points and nine assists at the one spot, leading the Occidental College men's basketball team to an 83-73 win over UC Santa Cruz at Chapman on Sunday.

Oxy improves to 5-3 overall and heads into the holiday break 2-0 in SCIAC play. UC Santa Cruz falls to 2-11 overall.

Hamane, a sophomore transfer from Puget Sound, had a career night with 11 points, six assists, two steals and just one turnover.

Tanioka, who's played sparingly this season after dealing with a hamstring injury for the first few weeks, made three 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes, helping Oxy jump out to a 45-36 halftime lead.

"Both Chad and Kory did a great job of forcing the tempo for us offensively," Oxy head coach Brian Newhall said. "Kory made terrific plays for his teammates and Chad's offense in the first half was a big boost."

The Tigers hit a rough patch in the second half that dwindled their lead down to 52-50 with 13:58 left. But Jay Miller converted a key and-1, igniting an 8-2 run that swung the momentum back in Oxy's favor.

Spencer Levy, who struggled from the field on Saturday with just four points in a win over Pacific Lutheran, led Oxy with 18 points, including three 3-pointers in the second half to hold the Banana Slugs at a distance.

The Tigers played 11 guys and nine of them 12 minutes or more as they pressed and turned quick shots and turnovers into transition opportunities.

Ty Cobb had another solid game off of the bench with 10 points and eight rebounds, many of them traffic boards that finished key defensive stops.

The Tigers had 18 assists and just 13 turnovers as they shared the ball and found good shots.

Austin Steadman led UC Santa Cruz with 24 points and 14 rebounds and Jared Ponce scored 18.

Kris Montoya, Oxy's leading scorer at 22 points per game, was held to just seven points as he sat out most of the first half with three fouls.

Still the Tigers found offense and contributions from other places. Juwan Rice scored 10 points to go along with six rebounds and Miller was in double digits for the second game in a row, scoring 14 points on 5 of 7 shooting.

Oxy has an eight-day break before returning home to play Milwaukee Engineering on Dec. 30 and La Sierra on Dec. 31.

"We get to relax a little and enjoy the holiday before getting right back to it," Newhall said. "I'm happy with the way our team's playing and it's nice to go into the break with a good taste in our mouths."