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Tourney taken

College of the Canyons suffers defeat in its tournament title game

Posted: December 29, 2008 9:20 p.m.
Updated: December 30, 2008 4:30 a.m.

College of the Canyons basketball player Justin Smith (21) takes a jumpshot over Chaffey College's Nickalas Turner Monday at College of the Canyons. Smith scored 23 points and 15 rebounds in a losing effort.

In a game of ups and downs, the College of the Canyons men's basketball team looked to be on the verge of an upset in the Cougar Holiday Classic on Monday night.

However, their eight-point lead midway through the second half vanished as the scales tipped back in favor of Chaffey College of Rancho Cucamonga, the Panthers taking the tournament championship 100-86 at the Cougar Cage.

"They executed their offense," Cougar head coach Howard Fisher said after the game. "We tried to make some adjustments. ... We just made too many turnovers in the half-court."

Capitalizing off late Cougar miscues, the Panthers slowly closed the gap and built their lead.

"Their style of play (pressure the ball, shoot the three and crash the boards), they are deeper and more experienced in it," Fisher said.

The two teams traded leads and kept it close, but desperation shots by COC caused the Panthers' lead to widen.

One player in particular made it happen for Chaffey (16-2).

Sophomore guard Winston Robinson drained five 3-pointers en route to a 32-point night and tournament most valuable player honors.

"He was ridiculous," Chaffey head coach Jeff Klein said. "Winston Robinson made some incredible plays down the stretch. That, and total defensive pressure (led to the win)."

Robinson and the rest of the Panthers kept full-court pressure on the Cougars most of the second half.

Chaffey shot 50 percent from the field and made 16-of-36 shots from 3-point range.

Their dominance down the stretch eclipsed the stellar play of the Cougars' big men.

Sophomore forward Brannon Bradley led all COC scorers with 25 points off the bench.

Bradley, along with fellow sophomore Justin Smith, carried the Cougars (7-11) offensively, making crucial buckets and bringing down offensive rebounds.

Smith finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds and was named to the all-tournament team.

Their dominating post play gave the College of the Canyons the lead midway through the second half and kept them in the game until the final minutes.

Also playing well was COC freshman forward and fellow all-tournament team honoree Brooks Flanagan, who finished with 14 points.

Flanagan helped eliminate an early deficit in the first half when he combined with Valencia graduate Terrez Scott on multiple plays down low.

With six assists by halftime, Scott's passes sliced through the defense as COC kept it close, down 46-45 at halftime.

The College of the Canyons will be back in action on Jan. 7 at 5 p.m. when it will host Citrus College.


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