SAN BERNARDINO - Coming into the 2022-23 season, state men's basketball coaches voted Fullerton College and San Bernardino Valley College as the top two teams in Southern California in a preseason poll.
And after SBVC's 1-2 start, the Wolverines dropped down in coaches' voting, while the Hornets remained at the top - starting 7-0, including a win over defending state champion City College of San Francisco.
Tuesday night, however, the San Bernardino Valley men's basketball team reminded everyone that it was going to be just fine.
The Wolverines went on a 22-4 first half run and overcame slow shooting starts in each half to hand the Hornets their first loss of the season, as SBVC beat Fullerton 83-69.
Just past the midway point of the first half, a dunk by Fullerton's Shaquil Bender tied the game at 15. But that was the point the Wolverines heated up.
Sebastian Mendoza completed a three-point play, and Fullerton would never pull even again from there. After a dunk by Sean Newman Jr. made it 18-17, the Wolverines scored the next nine points as part of their 22-4 run that lasted almost seven minutes. SBVC went to the locker room up 42-27 at the half.
Fullerton picked up the defensive pressure to start the second half, scoring the first five points of the half, and eventually pulling back with eight. But the Wolverines responded and pulled away with the victory.
A big part of SBVC's win came from beyond the three-point arc, where the Wolverines shot 50 percent on the night. Dominique Daniels was 5-for-9 from three-point range, while Mendoza made 3-of-4 shots from outside. Those two led the way scoring for SBVC, with Daniels finishing with a game-high 29 points to go with four rebounds and four assists. Mendoza scored 20 and pulled down eight rebounds while playing most of the second half with four fouls. Armon Muldrew added 18 points - including going 6-for-6 from the free throw line - with six rebounds for the Wolverines.
Newman led the Hornets with 20 points and five assists, while Bender finished with 15.
(Bill Norris, San Bernardino Valley College Athletics)