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College basketball: Strong finish leads to win

COC overcomes slow start in win

Posted: December 28, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 28, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

College of the Canyons men’s basketball came into the season committed to taking advantage of its impressive depth.


On Thursday night in the opening round of the Cougar Holiday Classic, COC proved it.


The Cougars got strong performances from their bench after a sluggish first half, eventually pulling out a 65-55 win over Palomar College at COC.


“We had some guys come up big in the second half and make some big plays on both the offensive and defensive end,” said COC head coach Howard Fisher.


After struggling to find an offensive rhythm and shooting just 26 percent in the first half, COC (9-4) trailed 26-25.
As the game wore on and neither team was able to grasp the upper hand, the Cougars leaned on bench players like David Horst, Lionel Poole and Ron Harris to provide a spark.


Overall, the Cougars got 21 points from the bench and many more big plays down the stretch.


As for the starters, Tyler Barber led COC with 13 points and 10 rebounds, Temjae Singleton added 12 points and Jaylen Bland scored 10.


“We just have to be patient,” Barber said of handling the slow start. “We have to trust the offense.”


The Comets (9-6) took a 50-44 lead with 9:42 to play, but COC answered with a 16-3 run to snag a 60-53 advantage at the 3:14 mark.


At that point, it was the largest lead either team had held in the game.


Poole scored all six of his points and blocked a shot during that stretch, which also included key defensive plays by Horst.


With 1:08 left, Horst drained a 3-pointer to seal it and set the final score. He finished with seven points, four rebounds and two steals.


Palomar was led by 7-foot-1 center Joe Vaz, who scored 15 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.


Chauncy Sirles had 13 points, 10 of which were scored in the first half.


COC’s pressure defense forced the Comets to commit 23 turnovers.


With the win, the Cougars move on to play Chaffey College in the semifinal today at 7 p.m.

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