Roger See, Fullerton College coach, stood with his back to the basket as Kevin Jones made the free throw to clinch Fullerton's 86-80 upset victory over El Camino, the second-ranked team in the state, Wednesday at Fullerton.
See was afraid to watch Jones shoot because he had already seen the Hornets miss the front ends of two one-and-one situations in the final minute, go more than two minutes without scoring near the game's end, and almost blow a 14-point lead with the help of a five-point play.
But as See stood with his back to the basket, he allowed himself a tight smile and clinched his fists when he saw the scoreboard change with Jones' free throw. Jones missed the second shot, but Fullerton still led, 84-78, with 26 seconds left.
"I'd already seen us miss some clutch shots and we'd already had some other things go wrong, and I didn't want to see it happen again," See said. "What can I say? I don't know how we won the game. I guess we just played hard."
Fullerton (13-8, 3-2), which has three straight victories, is a game behind El Camino (20-2, 4-1), which is ranked first in Southern California.
Fullerton took its biggest lead when Kevin Patrick scored to give the Hornets a 75-61 lead with 8:12 left. But El Camino's Charles White made a steal, scored a layup and was fouled. As White made the free throw, Patrick was called for a foul, sending Kirkland Howling to the line. Howling made both free throws and El Camino trailed, 75-66, completing the five-point play.
El Camino was able to cut the lead to 80-78 when Howling made a three-point basket with 3:20 left. But Fullerton's Darrin Queen made a three-pointer with 2:59 left to put Fullerton ahead, 83-78. Fullerton didn't score again until Jones' free throw to clinch it with 26 seconds left.
Troy Joseph scored 19 and Queen 16 for Fullerton. Howling had 18 and White 16 for El Camino.
In another South Coast game:
Mt. San Antonio 75, Golden West 69--Elbert Davis scored 14 points and Doug Rice and Markus Muller-Stach added 10 each to lead Golden West (11-10, 1-4).
In South Coast women's play:
Golden West 95, Mt. San Antonio 59--Jeannine Battaglia scored 22 points for Golden West (21-1, 5-0).