Riverside Defends Home Court, Defeats Mt. San Jacinto in CCCAA Southern Regional Playoffs

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

In their third meeting this season, the Riverside City College men's basketball team played host to the Mt. San Jacinto College Eagles in the first round of the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) on Friday night in Wheelock Gymnasium. In their previous meeting, the Eagles bot raced the Tigers and defeated them by 41 points. However, it was the sweet taste of revenge for the Tigers as they played a strong game on both ends of the court leading to a 77-58 triumph.

It was a battle from the opening tip as the Tigers and Eagles traded buckets throughout the entire first half. Mt. San Jacinto jumped out to an early 7-2 advantage that stretched four minutes into the game, but a mini 8-0 run handed the Tigers the lead for the first time in the contest. Freshman guard Tyree Winborn hit a jumper to snag the lead, backed by a steal and a layup from sophomore guard Otto Taylor on the ensuing possession.

The lead continued to trade hands at a rapid pace. A layup each from sophomore tandem Rico Tate and Franky McQuay kept the lead in Riverside's favor just past the 10-minute mark. Sophomore guard CJ Clark extended the Tiger's lead by hitting a triple, but the Eagle quickly responded and went up by two points with under five minutes remaining.

Sophomore forward Cam'Ron Wilson regained the lead for the Tigers by hitting a deep three ball. McQuay and Winborn followed with consecutive buckets leading to a 26-25 advantage entering into halftime.  

The back-and-forth affair continued in the early stages of the second half. However, Riverside turned on the ignition and broke off a 19-2 run that began at the 17-minute mark and stretched to the 10-minute mark.

Taylor was the catalyst to the run as he promptly caught fire as seen in a pair of consecutive three pointers to begin the streak. The scoring became contagious as McQuay responded with three-straight buckets of his own, capped by another dagger three ball from Taylor leading to a 50-35 advantage.

From then on, it was all Riverside as they worked their way to a 77-58 victory.

Riverside thrived in many areas, but specifically defense. The halted the Eagles to a 38.2 shooting percentage which encompassed a 10.5 (2-for-19) mark from downtown.

Riverside forced the Eagles to make 19 turnovers. Seven of those turnovers came from Mt. San Jacinto's David Thompson, the Eagles' leading scorer all season. Tate, who guarded him throughout the contest, held him to a mere two points which acted as a season low. Furthermore, only one player landed in double-digit points for the Eagles.

Defense turned into offense as Riverside capitalized with 27 points off of turnovers and 16 fast break points. Taylor paced the Tigers on offense by flushing 21 points. Clark backed him with 18 points, five rebounds and five assists. McQuay finished with 16 points and five rebounds, while Winborn chipped in 10 points off the pine.

Riverside (20-9, 8-4 OEC, 1-0 Playoffs) will face off against the winner of the Santa Monica and East Los Angeles game. Stay tuned to www.rccathletics.com for more information.