It was a flare for the dramatic in the season opener for the Riverside City College men's basketball team on Thursday afternoon in a showdown against the Antelope Valley College Marauders at the We Play Hard Tournament hosted by Ventura College. In a game where the Tigers faced a three-point deficit with two minutes remaining, it was a layup by sophomore guard CJ Clark and a three ball from freshman guard Chris Harper that handed Riverside the lead an eventually a 71-70 victory.
It was a close game from the opening tip as seen in 10 lead changes and four ties. It was a grind down low as there were a combined 50 points in the paint – 28 of them went to the Tigers.
After Antelope Valley took a two-point lead with just over two minutes remaining, Riverside looked to regain the lead on the following possession. They did so successfully compliments of Clark kissing two points high off the glass to trim the deficit to one point.
Harper, who had already hit one three pointer in the contest, took matters into his own hands with just over a minute remaining and rose up and flushed a triple to put the Tigers up by two points. Sophomore forward Jared Stokes assisted on the play.
The Riverside defense came up clutch on the following possession to force a turnover which led to another layup for Clark to put the Tigers up by four points. Despite the Marauders pulling within one point by hitting three free throws, Riverside was able to hang on for the victory.
The Tigers shot 49.1 percent from the floor that encompassed a 40 percent mark from downtown (8-for-20). They worked their way to the line 13 times on the night and hit nine of their free throws.
Freshman center Maurice Tutt handled the majority of the offense by dropping 19 points by going 8-for-10 from the floor. Furthermore, he hit a team-high three three-pointers. Harper dropped 12 points in his Riverside debut by going 5-for-6 from the floor and hit both of his three point shots.
Sophomore Rico Tate ran the offense from the point and did so successfully. He dished out three assists, hauled in four rebounds and finished with 10 points.
Riverside (1-0) will continue action in the We Play Hard Tournament on Friday, November 2. The opponent and time are to be determined.