Two weeks ago, a determined Pasadena squad gave the Santa Barbara Breakers one of their closest games of the season before letting things slip away in the fourth quarter. The 8-0 Breakers were just as prepared Saturday, maintaining a first-half lead before using signature fast-break basketball to come out on top 131-115 at the Santa Barbara City College Sports Pavilion.
“They’re one of the tougher teams in the league,” Breakers forward Tyler Newton said. “I think sometimes we’re our own worst enemy because we get out to a big lead and let them get back in, but overall we played a good game.”
Several Pasadena players were ready to pin the Breakers with their first loss of the season, led by point guard Robin “Syk Wit It” Kennedy, who finished with 28 points and 10 assists as the anchor of the Slam offense. Kennedy would have fellow AND 1 running mates Larry “The Bone Collector” Williams and Eric “The Spinmaster” Holmes by his side in the second matchup between the teams, but would receive the most help from forward Armani Daiinash, who finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds as a force in the post.
“We know a lot of those guys, having played with them in the past,” Breaker guard Allan Purnell said. “Knowing the scouting report and sticking to defensive assignments allowed us to overcome some of their mismatches and get out on perimeter shooters.”
Purnell brought both the defense and offense to the plate on Saturday, finishing with 20 points, six assists and a season-high nine rebounds, helping the Breakers on the glass in the absence of regular starting forward Josh Merrill. Despite Purnell’s great overall contributions, it was Newton who led the way for the Breakers, finishing the game with 28 points on 13-for-14 shooting, including 2-for-2 from beyond the arc to go along with 11 boards. The Breaker big man, celebrating his birthday on Saturday, was no slouch on the fast break, putting an exclamation point on his breakout night with a rim-shaking dunk in the fourth quarter.
“I played with Tyler in college and have seen him bring it on both ends of the court,” Purnell said. “He really attacked the basket and set the tone for us.”
Santa Barbara also received big scoring contributions from guards Justin Johnson (17) and Tim Taylor (19). Rashid Byrd also had himself a game with 16 points and eight rebounds.
With their flawless record intact, the Breakers will travel from home for only the second time this season. They’ll play a three-game road trip starting with the High Desert Rattlers on Thursday.
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Matt Connolly is the Breakers’ assistant director of media relations.