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Community College Basketball : Riverside Edges Rancho Santiago

February 05, 1989|STEVE KRESAL | Times Staff Writer

Rancho Santiago College used a slow-down offense to counter fast-moving Riverside and it almost worked Saturday.

But the Tigers were able to adjust just enough for a 49-45 victory that clinched at least a tie for the Orange Empire Conference men's basketball title. It was the seventh consecutive victory for Riverside (23-8 overall and 8-1 in conference play).

Orange Coast was upset by Saddleback, 84-75, Saturday to drop to 4-4 in conference and fourth place. Rancho Santiago (15-10, 5-4) and Cypress (13-13, 5-4) are tied for second.

Rancho Santiago's plan of running 20 seconds off the 45-second clock worked pretty well, but two key plays made the difference in the final 40 seconds.

Riverside led, 44-42, with 40 seconds left when Rancho Santiago was working for a final shot. Riverside's Evric Gray stole the ball from Gene Altamirano, Gray passed up court to Michael Stewart, who was fouled. He made both free throws and Riverside led, 46-42.

Chris Martin made a 3-pointer with 24 seconds left to cut the lead to 46-45.

Stewart was fouled again and missed the free throw, but in the scramble for the ball, Mike Hunter was called for an intentional foul as he ran into Bobby Joyce who got the ball just outside the key.

Joyce made both free throws with 15 seconds left and Stewart added another free throw with 12 seconds left for Riverside.

"We didn't lose out poise," Riverside Coach Bob Boyd said. "Rancho Santiago did a good job in that offense. I didn't expect it, it was a very good tactic."

Martin led Rancho Santiago with 19 points and Mike Hunter and Matt Lien scored 8 apiece for the Dons.

Gray led Riverside with 12 points, Stewart had 11 and Joyce and Mike Lewis had 9.

Saddleback 84, Orange Coast 75--Saddleback went on a 9-0 run in the final 11 minutes to break a 58-58 tie and coast to the victory. Vincent Mason scored 20 points to lead Saddleback (10-15, 3-6). Scott DeStefano led Orange Coast (19-8, 4-4) with 20 points.

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