The San Diego City College Knights advanced to the third round of the California Community College Athletic Association men’s basketball playoffs by eliminating the Mount San Antonio College Mounties 73-62 on Friday, Feb. 24 at City College’s Harry West Gym.
Both teams tried frantically to take control of the game in the first half, going back and forth. At the eleven minute mark, the Mounties went on a 7-0 run to go up 17-10 but City would answer with a run of their own by scoring the next twelve in a row, putting the Knights up 22-17 and the Knights would not relinquish control of the lead for the rest of the game, leading 29-25 at halftime.
At the start of the second half, each team exhibited a mindset of winning at all costs. Every rebound and loose ball was a battle and the game was beginning to get chippy. Knights sophomore center, Alex Wilbourn and Mounties freshman guard, Josh Johnson were each handed technical fouls after some rough play for the ball.
“There was a lot of nagging, grabbing, touching, pushing, but we practice like that every day so we try to get as used to it as possible and try to fight through it,” said an exhausted Wilbourn.
The newly appointed Pacific Coast Athletic Conference South Player of the Year, sophomore guard, Darien McClain led the Knights with 20 points and four assists with three bombs from beyond the arc while hitting 82 percent of his free-throws. After a 13-3 run by the Mounties, the lead was only three with 10:32 left but McClain hit a clutch three that capped a 10-2 run by the Knights, giving the home team a comfortable lead.
Wilbourn scored 12 points and added six rebounds for the Knights. Jahmere Mitchell had eight points and wrestled a season-high 13 boards and sophomore guard, Marcus Brumsey registered 12 points. Freshman forwards, Darius Lee and Robert McCoy contributed seven points each off the bench and the Knights shot almost 47 percent for the game while holding Mt. San Antonio under 38 percent.
City’s next opponent will be the No. 13 ranked Riverside City College Tigers. The Tigers are coming off a huge upset of the No. 4 ranked San Bernadino Valley College Wolverines on Saturday Feb. 25, winning 68-59 while being led by freshman guard, Brae Ivey’s 22 points.
The defense of the Knights is what has gotten them this far, as each player is responsible for their assignment and held accountable for their mistakes. Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, Head Coach Mitch Charlens has a mindset for this team to have the rest of the way. “Try to win.” The Knights will do just that, as they host Riverside Saturday Mar. 4 at Harry West Gym in the third round of the CCCAA playoffs.
Tickets to Saturday’s game are $12 for adults and $8 for students with i.d, faculty, staff, children under 12, and seniors.