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COC men just handle lowly SBCC

Posted: February 5, 2014 10:31 p.m.
Updated: February 5, 2014 10:31 p.m.

College of the Canyons' Ilya Ilyayev (42) scores against Santa Barbara City College at COC on Wednesday.

The College of the Canyons men’s basketball team likely entered its home matchup with Santa Barbara City College confident that it could handle the lowly 1-16 Vaqueros.

Yet, COC has struggled with consistency problems of its own this year, and those came along with SBCC as a packaged deal on Wednesday night.

The Cougars went on to win 69-64, but not after struggling to put away an SBCC team that wouldn’t go away.

“We had too many turnovers and they played hard,” said COC head coach Howard Fisher. “We tried to force too many things tonight instead of letting the game come to us. We just didn’t do a good job of taking care of the ball.”

The Cougars turned the ball over 28 times on Wednesday, which prevented them from going on a decisive run to put away the pesky Vaqueros (1-17 overall, 0-7 Western State Conference).

Instead, COC and SBCC engaged in a predictable pattern, where the Cougars would go up by six-to-eight points and threaten a run only to let SBCC back within three or four after mental mistakes and offensive breakdowns.

The Cougars’ rock on Wednesday was forward Ilya Ilyayev, who scored 24 points to go along with five rebounds.

Along with big men Zach Davis (16 points) and Dalibor Nonkovic (11 points), Ilyayev helped the Cougars establish the upper hand down low.

Unfortunately, because of the Cougars’ turnover problems, the big men went multiple offensive possessions without seeing the ball.

Leading the way for SBCC were Kenneth Edwards and Prince Arceneaux, who scored 15 points and 13 points respectively.

The Cougars are now one game above .500 with an 11-10 overall record. The team is 5-3 and right in the mix for a first-place finish in the WSC Northern Division, and will play the three teams above them over the course of the season’s final two weeks.


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