Knights clinch playoffs spot

The Knights basketball team win Pacific Athletic Coast Conference  championship two games before the end of the season defeating Mesa College Olympians 94-82 at City College West Gymnasium on Feb. 12. Photo credit: Celia Jimenez

Celia Jimenez

The Knights basketball team win Pacific Athletic Coast Conference championship two games before the end of the season defeating Mesa College Olympians 94-82 at City College West Gymnasium on Feb. 12. Photo credit: Celia Jimenez

Luisa Sausedo

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The City College men’s basketball team clinched at least a share of the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference (PCAC) South Championship with their seventh straight victory, defeating the San Diego Mesa Olympians 94-82 in game Friday night at home. The Knights advanced their conference record to 6-0 and overall record to 20-7.

The game at Harry  West Gym started out in Mesa College’s (8-17) favor as they scored  three-pointer after three-pointer in the first half of the game. The Knights looked flustered as they raced up and down the court trying to overcome the Olympians. It wasn’t until late in the half when the Knights momentum picked up and started to shift the outcome of the game.

The Knights were down by 13 when City’s head coach, Mitch Charlens, called for a time out. When the teams hustled back onto the court, everyone could tell that both teams had come to play. Mesa College was bringing the heat but City College returned the favor by scoring eight points in the last two minutes of the first half, leaving the score 42-37 in Mesa’s favor at the break.

The Knights tied the game 46-46 with 16:55 left on the clock. City’s sophomore guard Spencer Mattox scored a three-point shot that put the Knights in the lead for the first time in the game. Mattox finished the game scoring a total of 26 points and sinking 66 percent of the three-point shots.

“For us to be down by I think it was 15 and cut the lead down to 5 at half time, I mean, we knew how important this game was and going into half-time with that momentum was definitely carried over into the second half,” said Mattox in an interview after the game.

Play after play, the Knights started to dominate the Olympians. Freshman center Leonard Allen blocked a shot by a Mesa player to turn around and assist sophomore guard Rico Failla with a fierce three-point shot, making the score 56-46 City.

Both teams battled to win the conference game. Mesa College never gave up but fell short, with the game ending 94-82 Knights.

“The second half came around and everyone locked in,” said Failla. “We all just got hot and you know, myself and everyone else, stepped up and started making shots. We just have to make shots, that’s what it comes down to. Tonight was our night to finish it up. We have a lot of high hopes right now and we’re trying to keep this streak going. It just depends if we come out ready to go.”

The Knights will end the season with two conference games on the road, playing the Imperial Valley Arabs on Feb. 17  and the Southwestern College Jaguars on Feb. 19. Playoffs are to start on Feb. 24, with the start times and opponent still to be determined.

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