Riverside Takes Reigns in Final Minutes to Defeat SBVC

Photo by Bobby R. Hester
Photo by Bobby R. Hester

It came down to the wire in a classic crosstown rivalry on Wednesday night as the Riverside City College men's basketball team hosted the San Bernardino College Wolverines in non-conference action. It was a battle to the end with the final five minutes telling the bulk of the tale as Riverside prevailed by the final score of 67-63.

The outcome seemed bleak for the Tigers as they faced a seven point deficit with just under six minutes remaining. However, the Tigers continued to chip away and claw closer towards the lead. Freshman guard Otto Taylor, who acted as Riverside's hot hand for the majority of the night, remained effective late as he hit a clutch three pointer to bring the Tigers within four points of a tie approaching the five-minute mark.

Riverside followed Taylor's three ball with solid play on the defensive end as seen in a clutch stop capped by a tough rebound from sophomore forward Franky McQuay. McQuay quickly located sophomore guard CJ Clark on an outlet pass who promptly hit a streaking sophomore guard Chris Harper for an empathic dunk. Clark logged a layup two possessions later to knot the score at 55-all.

The Tigers and Wolverines traded scores in the coming minutes, but a pair of free throws compliments of Clark handed Riverside a two-point advantage leading into the final two minutes of play. Despite the leading being surrendered to San Bernardino shortly after due to a three ball, Taylor answered by snapping the bottom of the net with a treball to regain the lead. Clark worked his way to the charity stripe twice and capitalized on the opportunities, thus leading to a 67-63 victory.

Taylor was dynamic on the trigger highlighted by 16 points and a 4-for-9 effort from downtown. Clark was the go-to weapon down the stretch as he finished with 14 points and was responsible for the Tigers final five points.

Harper was a strong presence off of the bench after playing 21 minutes and dropping 11 points, while McQuay's intangible efforts on the court helped Riverside harness the momentum leading to the victory. He finished with eight points, four rebounds, and a pair of steals.

It was the first time since 2016 Riverside defeated San Bernardino since taking them down in the Southern California Regional Quarterfinal matchup.

The Tigers (8-4) will continue action on Saturday, December 29 in a contest against Barstow College at home at 1 p.m.