A preview of Friday night's contest between #6 seed Citrus College and #10 seed Cerritos College in the second round of the California Community College Athletic Association Southern California Men's Basketball Regional Playoffs. Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM at Citrus College.
About Friday Night's Match-Up
Tonight's game is the first meeting between Citrus College and Cerritos College since the 1998-1999 season, and the 19th meeting overall. In the last meeting nearly two decades ago, the Falcons bested the Owls 87-62. In order to find the last time the two schools have met in the post-season, you would have to look back all the way to the 1990-1991 season when Cerritos once again got the best of Citrus, defeating the Owls 74-62. Of the previous 18 meetings, 13 have taken place here at Citrus College, with the Falcons holding an 11-2 edge over the Owls. (Information courtesy of John Van Gaston, Cerritos College Sports Information Director).
About the Falcons
Cerritos College enters the 2017 CCCAA Southern California Men's Basketball Playoffs as the #10 seed after going 21-6 overall and 7-3 in South Coast Conference South Division play where they finished in second place behind #2 seed El Camino College-Compton Center. The Falcons have won seven straight games headed into Friday night's game, including a 91-84 overtime victory at Compton. The Falcons boasted three players on the 1st team All-South Coast Conference South Division team, including sophomores Brian Nebo (12.3 ppg | 4.3 rpg | 2.1 apg) and Tyler Payne (8.1 ppg | 3.7 apg) who were repeat selections from last year. Joining them on the first team was freshman forward Cristian Perez who led the team in points (13.0 ppg), rebounds (6.7 rpg), and 3-point shooting (46.4%).
About the Owls
Citrus College heads into the post-season for the 11th year in a row, and fresh off their first conference championship since 2012. The Owls went 23-6 on the year and finished tied with Barstow College for the 2017 Western State Conference East Division crown going 8-2 in conference play. The Owls were granted the #6 overall seed, and will be hosting a post-season game for the first time since the 2011-2012 season when Citrus hosted San Bernardino Valley College in the regional finals, defeating the Wolverines and earning their second straight trip to the CCCAA Final Four. This year, Citrus has been led by freshman point guard Jeremy Smith who is averaged 15.4 points and 4.2 assists per game. Sophomore Kenneth Cyprian is averaging 12.4 points, while four other players are averaging at least eight points per game. Citrus finished the regular season as the eighth highest scoring team in the State, and is the second highest scoring team of any team in the Southern California playoffs.
The Owls are in the middle of the pack when it comes to opponents scoring (73 ppg), but they've limited their opponents especially on the perimeter where they've let the other team shoot just 29.9% from downtown. The Owls have out rebounded their opponents by just under two rebounds a game on the season, with sophomore Calvin Martin (8.4 rpg) serving as the team's leading rebounder, but where they have excelled is on the offensive glass, where they average 14 a game, while holding their opponents to just 10.9 a contest. The Owls have also been stellar in the turnover battle, turning their opponents over to the tune of four times more a game then they have this year.
Citrus in the Playoffs
Friday night's tilt will be the 30th playoff game for the Owls in the last 11 seasons. In that span, Citrus is 20-9 in the post-season, incuding a 12-1 record inside The Owls' Nest at Citrus College. The Owls went 2-1 in the playoffs last year, and have won at least one playoff game in 10 of the last 11 seasons.
Since it's been nearly 20 years since the two schools have faced each other, it could be helpful to look at their common opponents this last season to see how evenly the two teams stack up. The two schools have each faced eight of the same teams, including the likes of Antelope Valley College, El Camino College-Compton Center, Fresno City College, and Long Beach City College. When it comes to the eight schools, Cerritos went 9-3 against the competition, while Citrus was 7-2. The Owls did hold a slight edge in point differential with an average point differently of 14.0 ppg, while Cerritos posted a 6.1 ppg point differential.
How to Follow
Friday night's CCCAA SoCal 2nd Round game can be followed a number of different ways including in person at The Owls' Nest on the campus of Citrus College. Parking will be free on Friday night in student lots, but all those parking on campus are required to park head in, and not backed into parking stalls. Parking in staff lots without a permit, and parking in a disable parking spot without a proper placard, will result in tickets being issued. Admission to Friday night's contest with be in line with the CCCAA mandatory guidelines. General admission is $12 per person, $8 for properly identified students, faculty, staff, senior citizens aged 60 and over, and children less than 12 years of age.
In addition to watching the game in person, you can follow the Live Stats of Friday's action through CitrusOwls.com. @ccfightingowls on Twitter will also be updated as often as possible throughout the course of the contest.