Fullerton, the hard-luck men's basketball team in the first week of Orange Empire Conference play, won its second consecutive close game, beating Riverside, 77-74, Friday at Fullerton.
Fullerton lost one-point decisions to Saddleback and Irvine Valley in its first two conference games before beating Orange Coast, 85-82, Wednesday.
The loss dropped Riverside (17-5, 3-1) into a three-way tie with Rancho Santiago and Saddleback for first place.
Tyrone Merriweather had a team-high 23 points and Tamar Ross added 15 for Fullerton (17-6, 2-2).
Darryle Flicking of Riverside, who was averaging 33 points, was held to 11. The Tigers' Ronald Kenan had a game-high 36.
In other men's conference games:
Rancho Santiago 96, Irvine Valley 89--Marlon Watson had a key three-pointer with 2 minutes 54 seconds left to give host Rancho Santiago an 88-83 lead. Irvine Valley never got closer than four points the rest of the way.
Sean Amos and Matt Kordik each had 24 points for Rancho Santiago (15-6, 3-1). Arturo Clemente had 22 and Damon Sims 18 for Irvine Valley (14-8, 2-2), which has lost two in row.
Saddleback 82, Cypress 61--Tes Whitlock had 25 points and seven assists for host Saddleback (13-6, 3-1). Antoine Jefferson added 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Gauchos. Adam Baker and Jeff Cummins had 12 points each for Cypress (10-13, 1-3).
Golden West 96, Orange Coast 89--Host Golden West used a 12-2 run late in the first half and led, 53-46, at the half. The Rustlers then used a 13-3 run to go up, 82-66, with 5:33 left. Gerald Rhoden had a game-high 34 for Golden West (8-12, 1-3). Derek Roche had seven three-pointers and finished with 26 points for Orange Coast (11-8, 1-3).
In Orange Empire Conference women's games:
Golden West 79, Orange Coast 71 (OT)--Visiting Golden West (22-3, 3-0), the second-ranked team in the state, outscored OCC, 13-5, in overtime. Julie Murdent had 24 points for Golden West. America Robledo had 18 points and LeAnn Kazmer had 16 points and 17 rebounds for Orange Coast (13-9, 1-2).
Fullerton 49, Riverside 46--Nikki Kubota made four of four free-throw attempts in the final 38 seconds for visiting Fullerton (14-10, 2-1). Nikki Clark had 17 points for Fullerton. Riverside is 18-7, 1-2.
Cypress 67, Saddleback 43--Center Sara Works scored 22 points and Yolanda Hearvey added 16 to lead Cypress (18-5, 3-1).