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Knights fly by Owls in season opener

The+San+Diego+City+College+Knights+men%E2%80%99s+basketball+team+started+their+season+off+with+a+bang+beating+the+Citrus+Owls%2C+80-65%2C+on+Nov.+4.+Photo+credit%3A+Celia+Jimenez
The San Diego City College Knights men’s basketball team started their season off with a bang beating the Citrus Owls, 80-65, on Nov. 4. Photo credit: Celia Jimenez

The San Diego City College Knights men’s basketball team started their season off with a bang beating the Citrus Owls, 80-65, on Nov. 4. Photo credit: Celia Jimenez

City Times

City Times

The San Diego City College Knights men’s basketball team started their season off with a bang beating the Citrus Owls, 80-65, on Nov. 4. Photo credit: Celia Jimenez

Denise White

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The Harry West Gymnasium was filled with cheers on Nov. 4 as the men’s basketball team had their season opening game playing the No. 17 state ranked Citrus College Owls.

The 80-65 win over the Owls is hopefully the step in the right direction for the Knights’ upcoming season with so many freshman on the team.

“They’re a really good program,” Knights Head Coach Mitch Charlens said, “Opening up our season against them was a challenge … I wasn’t sure how ready we’d be tonight.”

The game started off slow for the Knights as the Owls lead the beginning of the game. It wasn’t until sophomore Taylor Nelson took a quick shot at the 10:22 mark that the Knights took their first lead 15-13 over the Owls. The crowd erupted with cheers as the Knights kept their momentum, going on a 10-1 run in two minutes.

The Knights were up 39-29 with three minutes left in the first half but the Owls kept their composure. Nelson attempted a hard layup but Owls sophomore Mark Williams stepped up and took a charge. The Owls get the ball back and make a quick layup, with the Knights leading only by two, 41-39. With seconds left in the first half, the Knights’ Freshman Jahmere Mitchell, boxes out on a missed shot, getting fouled and sinking both freethrows, ending the first half 43-39.

The Knights kept their momentum going and scored the first six points of the second half, starting with freshman Leonard Allen making a quick pass to Alex Winbourn for a layup. On the next play down, Nelson took a hard drive to the basket, missing a layup but finishing the put back. Off an inbound pass, Allen made an ally-oop dunk that really got the fans cheering on their feet.

The Knights were playing great defense, putting the pressure on the Owls, making it difficult for them to score. The Owls were able to come within 10 points at the 13:17 mark, making the score 55-45. Slowly, the Knights were pulling away and the Owls took a timeout with only seven minutes left.

The Owls switched up their defense and began trapping the ball in an attempt to get the Knights to turn the ball over, but by then it was too late. Jordan McNellys on the Owls committed a flagrant foul on Spencer Mattox, who was able to sink both free throws, bringing the score to 76-63. The game ended with the Knights beating the Owls 80-65.

“This group is brand new,” Charlens noted. “I knew they had to do it.”

In regards to having an almost brand new team compared to last year, the Knights’ goal is keeping that team chemistry going and working together.

“We’re coming together as a unit, to do that tonight means a lot,” Nelson said.

Freshman center Allen really stepped up to the plate, leading the Knights with a double-double having 20 points and 10 rebounds for the night. Sophomore guard Mattox also added 16 points and was 8-12 from the free throw line.

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