It was a game that Riverside City College men's basketball's five graduating sophomores will forever remember on Friday night as the Tigers played hosted to the Copper Mountain Fighting Cacti in the Orange Empire Conference (OEC) regular season finale. A full 40 minutes was not enough to decide a winner, so the game continued to overtime. In a game that saw five ties and nine lead chances with no team having more than a 10-point advantage, it was the Tigers who reigned supreme in the overtime period to seal a 94-89 victory.
Prior to the contest, sophomores CJ Clark, Franky McQuay, Rico Tate, Otto Taylor and Jared Stokes were honored for their two years of dedication to the men's basketball program. It was all love prior to the tip, but when game time hit, it was an all-out war.
With two minutes remaining in the contest, the Tigers were staring down the barrel of a seven-point deficit. McQuay kept the Tigers alive by bucketing two-consecutive layups to pull within four points of a tie. Clark followed with a steal and a layup on the ensuing possession to pull within three points. He followed with another layup exiting a Riverside timeout, but he missed the free throw to tie up the contest to bring the score to 78-77.
After Copper Mountain hit a free throw to go up by two points, McQuay hit the biggest shot of his career by knocking down a put back layup to force the game into overtime.
The overtime period continued to be a back and forth affair as the Tigers found themselves down by one point with just three minutes remaining. Riverside turned on the gas and went on a 6-0 run with Taylor hitting a clutch three ball and Clark flushing a trio of free throws to grab a five-point advantage.
Despite the short spurt, Copper Mountain pulled to within one point of a tie, but a free throw from McQuay kept the Fighting Cacti at a two-point distance. Freshman guard Cam'Ron Wilson entered the contest and kissed two points off of the glass to extend their lead to four points. Clark took over from their by scoring the final four points with a layup and two free throws leading to a thrilling 94-89 overtime win.
Clark was unstoppable as he dropped a career-high 38 points in the victory. He went 14-for-23 from the hardwood highlighted by a 4-for-6 night from downtown. He added seven rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Taylor chipped in crucial buckets down the stretch as he finished with 14 points, while Wilson was the spark plug off of the bench as seen in 12 points and 11 rebounds to mark his first-career double-double. McQuay was two boards shy of a double-double after finishing with 11 points and eight rebounds.
Riverside caps their regular season with an overall record of 20-9 encompassing a conference clip of 9-4. They will await their playoff fate. Please stay tuned to www.rccathletics.com for more information.