SANTA CRUZ, California – Stellan Roberts began his senior season with a double-double, and Tyrese Yussuf-Willis began his collegiate career with 19 points, but the Puget Sound men's basketball team dropped its 2019-20 season-opener, 81-79, at UC Santa Cruz Friday night.
Roberts totaled 25 points and 12 rebounds for the Loggers (0-1). However, he shot just 2-for-10 from 3-point range. As a team, the Loggers were 6-for-25 (24-percent) from beyond the arc. On the flip side, the Banana Slugs (3-1) shot 8-for-17 (47.1 percent) from distance.
Yussuf-Willis shot 5-for-11 from the floor and 7-for-7 from the free-throw line in his Puget Sound debut. He played 27 minutes off the bench.
UC Santa Cruz held a 42-27 lead at halftime. It remind a 15-point difference until Yussuf-Willis drilled a 3-pointer five minutes into the second half. Two minutes later, fellow freshman Kobe Elsner converted on an and-one layup to make it a single-digit deficit for Puget Sound.
The Banana Slugs built their lead back up to 11 points 70-59, with four minutes left in regulation, but the Loggers would not go away. Aided by a couple of UC Santa Cruz turnovers, Cal Hansen hit a jumper and a made free-throw, and Yussuff-Willis made a layup to cut the deficit to 74-68 with 90 seconds left.
The Banana Slugs made their free-throws down the stretch to hold on for the win.
Puget Sound takes on Cal Tech at Kaiser Permanente Arena Saturday, Nov. 15. Tipoff is at 2 p.m.