The No. 11 Riverside City College men's basketball team kicked off its 2017-18 campaign on Thursday night by facing off against the Moorpark College Raiders in the Ventura College Tournament. The Tigers found themselves in a strong battle that saw them trailing for the majority of the contest. However, the Tigers continued to chip away at the lead and managed to overcome an eight-point deficit en route to a 73-65 victory in their season opener.
The Tigers fell into a hole early after allowing the Raiders to begin the contest on a 12-4 run despite an opening bucket from freshman forward Jordan Robinson (Riverside, CA). Sophomore guard Brae Ivey (Huntington Beach, CA) ended the streak by kissing two points off the glass, backed by a flushed triple from sophomore guard Andre Wilson (Corona, CA). Ivey, who assisted on the three pointer from Wilson, followed shortly after with a trey ball of his own to knot the score up at 12-all nearing the halfway point of the first half.
Freshman forward Jared Stokes (Antioch, CA) joined in on the action by drawing a foul and pocketing a pair of successful free throws to maintain a small deficit. Ivey later found Stokes beyond the arc for a three pointer, backed by another set of free throws leading to the Tiger's first lead of the game at 19-18 with just under seven minutes remaining in the first half.
The Tigers continued to cash in at the charity stripe with Ivey hitting a pair followed by an and-one play from freshman center Javon Gibbs (Hertford, CA). Ivey capped off the first-half scoring with a layup leading to a 34-32 deficit entering into the second half.
The second half was a continued back-and-forth affair with no team holding a lead larger than eight points. The Raiders attacked early on, but the Tigers were able to maintain a steady pace to slowly chip away at the deficit as they had been throughout the first half.
After trailing for the entirety of the second, the Tigers regained the lead with just under five minutes remaining. Sophomore guard Rahmell Greene (Citrus Valley, CA) hauled in an offensive rebound off of a missed free throw and found Ivey for a fade away jumper just off the baseline to snag the lead at 56-55.
Ivey followed minutes later and snapped home two free throws backed by another jumper assisted by Wilson. Ivey later pulled up for a dagger three pointer with under a minute remaining to seal the deal en route to a 73-65 win.
Ivey finished with a game-high 31 points. He was 4-for-7 from downtown and was 5-for-5 from the charity stripe. Wilson backed him with 16 points and a set of assists.
Robinson was a force down low by being one point and one rebound shy of recording a double-double. Stokes led the bench in scoring with 10 points – seven of his points came from the free throw stripe.
The Tigers (1-0) will face off against Antelope Valley (1-0) at 5 p.m. on Friday, November 3rd in the semifinal matchup in the Ventura College Tournament.