VIDEO/AUDIO: City College men’s basketball survives ferocious Jaguar comeback attempt

Southwestern’s 23-point, second-half rally falls short as Knights take conference lead
City College Knights forward Kevin Moore (2) puts an exclamation point on the 84-72 victory over Southwestern with a dunk in the final seconds of the game at Harry West Gym, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024. Photo by Danny Straus/City Times Media
City College Knights forward Kevin Moore (2) puts an exclamation point on the 84-72 victory over Southwestern with a dunk in the final seconds of the game at Harry West Gym, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024. Photo by Danny Straus/City Times Media
Danny Straus

Editor’s note: City Times Media’s Vince Outlaw and Joe Panek will be adding play-by-play and color commentary to all men’s home games during the 2023-24 season. To watch the video, click here. To listen to the audio feed, click here. To read a rough transcript generated by otter.ai, click here.

Kevin Moore watched a commanding 23-point, first-half lead by the San Diego City College men’s basketball team get smaller and smaller.

But even with every second-half Southwestern College ball deflection, steal and rebound, he knew his teammates were prepared.

“We got a lot of guys who’ve played college basketball for more than one year, so we weren’t startled,” Moore said in a post-game locker room interview with City Times. “But we knew we had to pick it up.”

And pick it up the Knights did.

City didn’t allow the visiting Jaguars a single field goal in the final 7:28 on its way to an 84-72 victory in a hard-fought game at Harry West Gymnasium on Feb. 7.

In all, it included 48 personal fouls, three technical fouls, and post-game words and scuffling between the two teams, something Knights Head Coach Mitch Charlens blamed on the game’s officials in a post-game interview with City Times.

“I think the game turned because [the] officiating was so horrible,” Charlens said, visibly frustrated in an otherwise upbeat Knights locker room. “Our guys are used to it. I mean, it’s the worst officiated conference in the nation.”

Charlens expressed his frustration with the inconsistency he saw from the sideline.

“You’re playing and you’re getting hit, and they’re not making the calls,” he said. “Then on the other side, a touch foul is being called. Two different games were being played within the same game. So it’s frustrating and it can wear on the kids. And I’m just glad that they held their ground at the end to hold on.”

City’s win put its Pacific Coast Athletic Conference record at 11-1 with an overall record of 20-4. The Knights post-game locker room erupted in cheers when it was announced that MiraCosta College had lost, 90-87, to Palomar College, landing City in PCAC first place with four games to play.

Tensions were high going into the game after a recently-surfaced message allegedly by the Southwestern coaching staff disparaging the Knights basketball program was seen by City players and staff, according to Charlens.

“Their coaching staff was talking trash,” he noted after the game.

As game time was running out and with the win out of reach for Southwestern, a final Knights’ steal and length-of-the-court pass to Moore resulted in a game-ending dunk.

Southwestern Head Coach Tyrone Shelley motioned toward the City College bench, showing his displeasure.

“At the end of the basketball game, you’re supposed to hold it, run out the clock,” Shelley said, addressing both the final points and words exchanged, in a post-game interview.

“The skirmish in the middle with the players, I have no idea how that started. You just want to clean it up. You don’t want guys messing up their reputations and names over a little skirmish.”

City College Knights forward Alex Crawford (22) goes for a layup against Southwestern’s Kaleb Wilson (23) in first-half action at Harry West Gym, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024. Photo by Danny Straus/City Times Media

As the cheers over his team’s new first-place PCAC status subsided, Moore reveled in the progress they’ve made this season and their hopes as the postseason looms.

“Going into the season this year, it was a whole new group,” Moore said, “and we came a long way and we still have a long way to go. We all believe we can win it all.

“But that’s not going to be easy. We have to come in every day and just work and just buy into what the coach is telling us. We’re going to continue to do that for sure.”

Moore led City’s scoring with 17 points on 6 of 11 shooting from the field, including 2 of 4 from behind the 3-point arc and 3 of 4 from the free-throw line. Three other Knights scored in double figures with every other team member scoring.

City’s Alex Crawford, recently named PCAC Player of the Week, pulled down eight rebounds and added 11 points.

City is back on the court Friday, Feb. 9, at 6 p.m. at Imperial Valley and returns home to Harry West Gym on Friday, Feb. 16 against San Diego Miramar.

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