Tigers Open Season at Ventura Tournament; Coach Mathews Returns to Old Stomping Grounds

Tigers Open Season at Ventura Tournament; Coach Mathews Returns to Old Stomping Grounds

RIVERSIDE -- Opening its 2016-17 campaign at a different venue for the first time in nine seasons, the Riverside City College (RCC) Tigers men's basketball team also will return to where it pretty much began for current RCC four-year head coach Phil Mathews when they participate in the annual We Play Hard tournament at Ventura College.

Riverside City (11-17 overall in 2015-16) will open on Thursday, Nov. 3, when it faces the Moorpark College Raiders at 5 p.m. Riverside would face either the Antelope Valley College Marauders or the Orange Coast College Pirates on Friday, Nov. 4, at either 1 p.m. (loser's bracket) or 5 p.m. (winner's bracket).

For the past eight seasons (since 2008-09), Riverside City had opened its season at the San Jose City College Tipoff Tournament, but instead will be where Coach Mathews began his hall of fame coaching career at Ventura College in 1985-86 and where he spent ten seasons (1986-1995) and recorded a won-lost record of 296-56. He guided the Pirates to ten straight Western State Conference (WSC) – North Division championships. Prior to his arrival, Ventura had not a conference crown in 17 seasons.

Leading the way for RCC are four returning sophomores from the 2015-16 squad: guard Andy Cleaves II (Riverside / John W. North HS '14), forward-center Rovan Halloway (Fresno / Central HS '15), guard Courtney Moffatt (Corona / Centennial HS '15) and center Amore Smith II (Fontana / Etiwanda HS '15).

Cleaves played in 26 games (24 starts) and averaged 29.6 minutes (770 total), 11.9 points (309 total), 5.0 rebounds (131 total) and 1.9 assists (50 total) per game. Cleaves had a high game of 31 points at home aganst Santa Ana (Jan. 6).

Halloway played in nine games (zero starts) and averaged 12.0 minutes (108 total), 3.9 points (35 total) and 4.1 rebounds (37 total) per game. He had a high game of 14 points against Bristol University junior varsity (Nov. 13, 2015).

Smith played in 12 games (one start) and averaged 9.5 minutes (114 total), 1.9 points (23 total) and 1.9 rebounds (23 total) per game. He had a high game of seven points against Bristol University junior varsity (Nov. 13, 2015).

Moffatt played in 26 games (18 starts) and averaged 27.3 minutes (711 total), 7.0 points (183 total), 2.6 rebounds (67 total) and 3.7 assists (95 total) per game. He had a high game of 20 points against Bristol University junior varsity (Nov. 13, 2015) and also at Barstow (Dec. 16, 2015).

The Tigers will continue play away from home until Tuesday, Dec. 6, when they entertain the California Miramar University junior varsity team in the opening round of the 45th Annual Riverside Holiday Tournament.

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