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College men’s basketball: Icing on the cake

With title already in hand, COC wins finale

Posted: February 17, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 17, 2013 2:00 a.m.
 

The College of the Canyons Cougars men’s basketball team capped off its regular season on Saturday with an 82-76 victory over the visiting Santa Monica College Corsairs at College of the Canyons.

The Cougars (19-7 overall, 9-1 Western State Conference, South), who had already wrapped up the conference title entering the final game, were in charge of Thursday’s contest throughout, with four players scoring in double figures.

“This is a really good group of guys,” said College of the Canyons head coach Howard Fisher. “They know how to put the ball in the basket.”

Tyler Barber was big for the Cougars, scoring a team-high 19 points, including going 4-for-7 from 3-point range.

“Barber made some big baskets. He knocked down three or four when we really needed them,” Fisher said.

The Cougars led 39-26 at halftime, before the Corsairs (14-8, 6-4) made a second-half run to close the gap.

After shooting 34.5 percent from the field in the first, Santa Monica shot 51.5 percent in the second and outscored COC 50-43.

David Nwaba scored a game-high 21 points, as he helped the Corsairs score 42 points in the paint. Nwaba added 11 rebounds and Keilan Horton added 16 for Santa Monica.

Despite being down by as many as 19 points early in the second half, the Corsairs pulled within 70-64 with four minutes to play on a jump shot by Adam Griffin.

But the Cougars were able to match Santa Monica basket for basket, as Barber knocked down a 3-pointer on the next trip down the court and the Cougars held on for the victory.

The win comes four days after the Cougars suffered their first conference loss of the season, 79-73 to Glendale.

“We didn’t shoot the ball well the other day from the free-throw line,” Fisher said. “We did better than that today.”

The Cougars went 14-of-21 from the line on Saturday.

Now, COC turns its attention to the Western State Conference, South Tournament, to be held at College of the Canyons on Thursday and Friday.

“We’re not going to change a whole lot,” Fisher said of his team. “We’ve got to focus on playing at the rim and knocking down shots.”

Jaylen Bland and Ron Harris scored 16 points for COC, while Temjae Singleton had 14 and led the team with 14 rebounds.

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