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COC hoops: The ride comes to a stop

Cougars' big season ends with loss to Mt. SAC in SoCal third round

Posted: March 6, 2013 10:29 p.m.
Updated: March 6, 2013 10:29 p.m.
 

For a while, it looked like College of the Canyons men’s basketball was going to keep this ride going.

And then the Mt. San Antonio College Mounties showed why they’re the No. 3 seed in the Southern California Regional Playoffs.

COC’s best season since 2006-07 came to an end on Wednesday in a 93-85 loss to Mt. SAC at Mt. SAC in the third round of the playoffs, which was three rounds short of the California Community College Athletic Association StateChampionship in Sacramento.

“They are a good team defensively,” said COC head coach Howard Fisher of Mt. SAC. “They put good pressure on and they created a couple turnovers and they got a couple big rebounds that led to fast breaks. They beat us to the ball and beat us down the court.”

As the No. 6 seed in the SoCal playoff bracket, the Cougars (21-9) led the Mounties for the majority of the first half until a late rally put Mt. SAC ahead 46-39 at halftime.

COC's Jaylen Bland led all scorers with 31 points, including six 3-pointers. Ron Harris added 14 points and Temjae Singleton scored 13 for the Cougars.

After halftime, the game turned sour for COC.

Mt. SAC’s pressure defense caused the Cougars to turn it over, which opened the door for several easy baskets on the other end.

That turned into a 18-point lead for Mt. SAC (26-3), which won the South Coast Conference this season.

Garrett Nevels led the Mounties with 28 points and Corey Allen added 27.

“I think there was a five to six-minute stretch there where we gave up some easy layups in transition,” Fisher said.

The Cougars nearly recovered, cutting the lead to four points with 1:24 to go with improved ball control and better rebounding.

But when all was said and done, they didn’t have enough in the tank to finish the comeback.

COC made 11 3-pointers in the game and made 16-of-22 free throws, though it struggled from the foul line down the stretch.

Despite the loss, COC can say it won more than 20 games, claimed a Western State Conference, South Division title and won its first playoff game in six years by defeating Allan Hancock College last week in the second round.

“This team has a lot of sophomores and I think they’ve grown as individual players but also as a group, and they set several goals and they reached two of three.”

The third goal, Fisher said, was to reach the state finals.

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