GAME PREVIEW: City College men’s basketball heads toward streaking Comets (with video/audio)

Knights face state’s No. 2 scorer at Palomar after home victory Friday over Miramar
San Diego City College guard Keavie Love (1) goes up for a shot in second-half action during the 78-62 victory against San Diego Miramar at Harry West Gym, Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. Photo by Danny Straus/City Times Media
San Diego City College guard Keavie Love (1) goes up for a shot in second-half action during the 78-62 victory against San Diego Miramar at Harry West Gym, Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. Photo by Danny Straus/City Times Media
Danny Straus

San Diego City College men’s basketball (22-4 overall, 13-1 conference) opens the final week of regular season Pacific Coast Athletic Conference play tied for first place, as it travels to third place Palomar College (13-13, 8-6) Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m.

The Knights are coming off a 78-62 victory over the San Diego Miramar Jets on Feb. 16 before a home crowd at Harry West Gym.

City set the tempo and played efficient basketball in the win over the Jets, shooting 51% from the field and 45% from behind the arc. The bench stepped up as well, scoring 19 points to contribute to the double-digit lead.

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In the first game of the season between the Knight and Comets, City College won 89-71 in a testy contest on Jan. 19 against Palomar at Harry West Gym. The Knights led for the entire game, but at several moments, Palomar had closed the margin to one point before City pulled away.

Five Knights scored in double figures, led by guard Al Green’s 22 points. City pulled down 41 rebounds to 25 by the Comets, with five Knights pulling down five or more and every player getting at least two. 

The Comets are led by California’s No. 2 junior college scorer Spivey Word, who averages 24.3 points per game. In the Jan. 19 matchup, City held Word to 21 points.

“They have two potent scorers in Spivey and (Thomas) Marcus,” Knights Head Coach Mitch Charlens said in an interview with City Times ahead of the matchup.

“We held him below his average the first time we played them and we made sure to try to hold the other guys down, “ Charlens added. “Spivey’s gonna get his shots up. We just have to do a good job of making each one of those shots as tough as possible.”

The prior meeting also included technical fouls by both teams, heated words exchanged between players, fans, and referees, and also included a sideline appearance by SDCCD police officers. 

Charlens knows there’s a lot on the line for both teams in this rematch.

“They’re playing a lot better than they were earlier in the year, “ Charlens said. “They have to win every game to have any chance of making the playoffs and they want to ruin our chances of winning the conference.”

“Being at their place, that we beat them already, they’re going to be fired up,” the Knights coach said.

With the PCAC title in sight, Charlens said his team is ready for the next step in their quest for a conference championship, including gaining as high of a seed as possible for postseason play.

“The guys are excited,” Charlens said. “We have our destiny in our hands. If we win these two games this week, we’re outright conference champs and have a good shot at getting a great seed.”

Around The Knights Table (a.k.a., Some Final Notes)

San Diego City College men’s basketball Head Coach Mitch Charlens puts his head in his hands after disagreeing with a referee’s call in the 78-62 win over San Diego Miramar at Harry West Gym, Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. Photo by Danny Straus/City Times Media
  • The only conference loss for PCAC men’s hoops co-leader MiraCosta was to Palomar, 90-87, on Feb. 7. Comet’s Spivey Word: 36 points.
  • Wednesday will be Palomar College’s Sophomore Night, honoring their second-year players. City’s will be on Friday.
  • City, then known as San Diego Junior College, and Palomar have been competing in basketball since 1947
  • The Knights have an 8-1 record against Palomar, going back to the 2019-2020 season.
  • The men’s and women’s basketball games on Friday, Feb. 23 will celebrate both sophomore players and Black History Month. The schedule of events:
    • 4:30 p.m. Food service and tabling from campus groups  
    • 4:55 p.m. President welcome 
    • 4:58 p.m. National Anthem 
    • 5:00 p.m. Men’s basketball tip-off 
    • Halftime —  planned events (note: men play two halves) 
    • 6:30 p.m. Tabling ends 
    • 6:55 p.m. President welcome 
    • 7:00 p.m. Women’s basketball tip-off 
    • Halftime after 2nd quarter — planned events (note: women play four quarters) 
    • 7:00 p.m. Food service ends
  • The final word: On the Knights falling from No. 5 to No. 7 in the Feb. 13 California Community College Coaches Poll after winning games the prior week: 
    • Charlens: “The coaches don’t know what the hell is going on.”
    • City Times reporter: “Do you have a vote in that coaches poll?”
    • Charlens: “I do.”

City Times multimedia journalist Tresean Osgood contributed to this report.

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