Santa Monica College held a halftime lead over Western State-South Rival, Citrus College, before losing 91-82. Citrus came into the game in second place and SMC jumped out to an early lead.
After #22, Quinn Collins, blocked a Citrus shot, Eli Degrate, #23, hit a quick 2 point shot to push the lead to 20-11. The first half took steady rhythm for the first 10 minutes of game time, with SMC pushing its lead to 6 to 8 points and Citrus closing it back down to a one score game.
It was hot 3-point shooting for SMC in the first half, led by #24, Alex Villi and #21, Chianti Clay Jr. that led to a large first half lead. Both Villi and Clay made three 3-point shots each in the first half and #0, Anthony Jaramillo added another to help take SMC to a first half lead of 54-33 with 1:10 remaining.
Citrus finished the first half with a quick 4-0 run that ultimately set them up strong for the second half.
When the second half started the score was 54-37, in favor of Santa Monica. But a string of quick scores by Citrus led to a 54-54 tie just over 4 minutes into the second half. Citrus took its first lead of the half 56-54 with 14:48 remaining in the game and ultimately used a 21-0 run to start the second half to retake the lead and set themselves up for the stretch run of the game.
Clay, Jr went to the line for a 1 and 1 for SMC's first points of the second half to close the lead back down to 58-56. For the next ten minutes, the game was a series of back-and-forth scores that was never tied and never more than a 5-point lead.
With about 4 minutes left in the game Citrus started to pull away pushing their lead to seven and eight points before SMC could claw back into the lead. After SMC closed the lead to 85-80 in the final minute, SMC began to foul to stop the clock, which pushed the final score to 91-82.
SMC Stat Leaders:
Jaramillo: 14 points
Collins: 8 Rebounds
Clay, Jr: 5 Assists
Wednesday February 2, 2022, 5:00PM at College of the Canyons.