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College men’s hoops: Test complete

COC comes out on top in tight game with L.A. Valley

Posted: February 3, 2013 10:06 p.m.
Updated: February 3, 2013 10:06 p.m.

College of the Canyons' Terrez Scott (30) is fouled as he shoots against Lance Bailey (20) of L.A. Valley College at COC on Saturday.

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After a strong start, the College of the Canyons men’s basketball team was tested till the finish as it defeated Los Angeles Valley College 78-69 Saturday at COC.

The Cougars (16-6 overall, 6-0 Western State Conference, South Division) controlled a 15-point advantage with 9:17 to play in the first half, but saw its lead evaporate to 43-38 at halftime.

“We played well in spurts, but had some lackadaisical moments where we lost intensity and focus,” said COC head coach Howard Fisher. “We acted like we were going to blow these guys out.”

It appeared as though the game was going to be a blowout in the early stages.

The Cougars opened the game on a 17-5 scoring run that spanned just over five minutes.

On the run, COC connected on five 3-pointers, including two apiece from Jaylen Bland and Tyler Barber.

“We made some quick baskets and got some good stops defensively,” Fisher said. “That helped us get some very good looks on offense.”

Bland finished with 13 points in the first half, while Barber added six.

However, led by Genno Soliman, the Monarchs did not go down without a fight.

Soliman scored 16 points to go with 4-of-6 shooting from downtown in the first half.

“That’s what you’re supposed to be, resilient,” said L.A. Valley head coach Virgil Watson. “We had some adversity but we can’t give up. You got to play to win.”

L.A. Valley (4-15, 1-5) cut the deficit to 68-67 with 3:09 to play in the game, but a layup by Barber on the other end ignited the Cougars as they closed the game on a 10-2 scoring run.

“We got a couple of steals and a couple of rebounds,” Fisher said regarding how his team pulled out the victory. “Terrez (Scott) did a tremendous job defensively on their point guards.”

Scott and Bland each recorded five steals as the Cougars combined for 15 in the game.

In total, COC forced 23 turnovers, which led to 31 points off turnovers for the Cougars.

Bland finished with a game-high 23 points on 7-of-10 shooting, while Barber added 17 points and seven rebounds.

Jawhar Purdy contributed 10 points off the bench, and Scott ended with nine.

Andrew Estes led the Monarchs in scoring with 19 points on 5-of-10 shooting.

Soliman was held to two points in the second half as he finished with 18 in the game.

Alex Smith added 14 for L.A. Valley.

“They made more plays down the stretch,” Watson said. “They’re in first place for a reason.”

With the win, COC extended its winning steak to seven games as it remains atop the WSC standings.

The Cougars will be in action again on Wednesday as they travel to Glendora to play Citrus College.

COC defeated Citrus 81-77 at home in overtime on Jan. 12.

“We want to focus on one game at a time,” Fisher said. “I want to see us executing on both ends and put a full 40 minutes together.”

 

 

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