Defending champion San Francisco rallies to avoid upset to Santa Monica, 67-63

(1N) City College of San Francisco 67, (4S) Santa Monica 63 
CCCAA Men's Basketball Championship (quarterfinals)
Ventura College • March 14
Photo by Mike Baker
(1N) City College of San Francisco 67, (4S) Santa Monica 63 CCCAA Men's Basketball Championship (quarterfinals) Ventura College • March 14 Photo by Mike Baker

CCCAA Basketball Championship Tournament Central
(live video, live stats, recaps, photos)

VENTURA - The defending CCCAA Champions of the City College of San Francisco rallied to stave off a first round upset, ending a miraculous run by the Santa Monica Corsairs, 67-63.  

VeIt was a neck-and-neck whistle fest in the first half with a total of 27 fouls between the two teams.  The Corsairs briefly held an early 5 point lead after Lucas Zemen swished the first three-pointer of the game, but the Rams' Austin McCullough responded with eleven seconds later with a four-point play to bring his team back within one. He netted a second four-point play just before the 10-minute mark to tie the game at 24, off of Santa Monica's tenth foul of the half. He would ultimately score a game high 16 points in the win, with a little help from Dale Currie's 12 points and three steals off the bench.

The teams traded threes again before Santa Monica would start to pull away with an eight-point lead five minutes later.  San Francisco fought back, and with the help of some Corsair fouls and a put-back by Austin Harris, the game was tied again at 36, drawing the Corsairs' first timeout. 

By halftime it was just a one-point game, 42-41 in favor of Santa Monica, despite their 17 first half fouls resulting in 12 San Francisco free throw points and a few offensive turnovers.

Santa Monica preserved their lead over the next ten minutes, extending their margin to 59-50 midway through the second half, briefly attempting to slow down the pace of their offense at the 8-minute mark, but had to speed things back up after another pair of offensive turnovers and San Francisco's Walter Urbina held onto a rebound and benefitted from the possession arrow.  The Corsairs needed another timeout to compose themselves after their next two frantic possessions ended witout points, as part of a five-and-a-half-minute scoring drought that saw San Francisco retake the lead by two.

After some more back-and-forth scoring, The Rams capitalized on a costly misplay by Marcus Harris in the last minute to tie the game at 63 off Walter Urbina free throw.  The Corsairs made things even harder for themselves by calling timeout when they had none left, and San Francisco took the lead on one of the ensuing free throws, and the Rams would not give up the lead again.

Chastin Mouton was Santa Monica's top scorer, dropping 13 points and grabbing three boards in 27 minutes off the bench.  Starter Jordan Wilson scored 12 before fouling out, and Kyle Young had game highs for his 10 rebounds and 5 blocks.  The Corsairs' 23 turnovers did prove costly, as they resulted in 23 Rams points. 

(Brian Mellblom, CCCSIA contributor)