SMC Wins with Strong Second Half
Santa Monica College’s (SMC) Men’s Basketball team beat College of the Canyons (COC) 79-70 on the strength of a 12-3 run to start the 2nd half. In a game filled with a lot of early defense and forced turnovers, it was a flurry of points by both teams after the game was tied at 60 midway in to the second half that led to an exciting finish in the Corsair Gym.
COC outpaced SMC in the opening minutes 10 – 2 before the Corsairs began to fight back. SMC’s Alex Villi, #24, opened the Corsair scoring when he stole a cross-court pass by tipping it to himself and took the ball all the way to rim for a layup. SMC called a time-out with 15:20 on the clock in the second half after a COC basket pushed the lead to 8 points.
SMC came out of the time-out with a renewed sense of energy when Villi blocked a shot on defense that led to a fastbreak dunk by Cam Cohn, #3, pulling SMC within 3 points. On the next possession Rohan Birch, #11, went to the floor for a loose ball that led to a slam dunk by #12 Daniel Akitoby.
SMC’s first lead of the game came when Akitoby grabbed a defensive rebound and got the ball out to Birch who fed it back to Akitoby, on the other end of the floor, for an assist on a tough basket under the hoop. With just under 5 minutes left in the first half Anthony Jaramillo, #0, drilled a 3-point shot to tie the game at 24-24 and a Cohn assist on a Akitoby dunk a few minutes later pushed SMC to a 28-24 lead. The lead was short lived as COC retook the lead 30-28 and made a final basket with under 3 seconds left to head to the locker room with a 32-28 lead at halftime.
The second half was a different story. SMC used two strong runs to take the lead and seal the game.
90 seconds into the second half Eli Degrate, #23, hit a 3-point shot to give SMC a 36-35 lead. College of the Canyons called a timeout at the 15:51 mark of the second half after SMC went on a 12-3 run and took a 40-35 lead.
Canyons bounced back with a quick four points by #30 Dillon Barrientos, off a steal by #42 Zion Caston. That kickstarted a back-and-forth game that led to the 60-60 tie with just under 7 minutes remaining in the game.
SMC’s Quinn Collins, #22, put the Corsairs up by 2 to break the tie and set the stage for the final 6 minutes. Akitoby blocked shots on back-to-back drives and added a basket before fouling out with 4:04 remaining in the game with the Corsairs leading 67-62.
Immediately following the foul stoppage, SMC’s Collins stepped into the path of the COC drive to the basket allowing Maxwell Moses, #30, to get the defensive rebound and push the ball out to Jaramillo who hit a 3-point shot to take a 70-62 lead.
Canyons made one last push with back-to-back 3-point shots to close the game to 74-68 with 1:01 left in the game. However, that was as close as they would get before SMC closed out the game with a few foul shots ending in a 79-70 score.
After the game SMC Head Coach Josh Thomas said, “I’m happy to get a win against a winning team like Canyons. It’s hard to get those wins and our guys stepped up to the challenge tonight.”
This was the first of four SMC Basketball games in 8 days, while the Corsairs make up a couple of games that were postponed due to COVID protocols.