Walnut, CA - After suffering their first loss in seven games in their first round match-up against NorCal #1 Fresno City College in the opener of the 2016 Mt. SAC Classic, the Citrus College Men's Basketball team rallied with a pair of decisive victories to claim the Consolation Championship in Walnut.
In the introductory tilt of the weekend, the Owls nearly overcame a 19 point halftime deficit and an 0 for 15 start from downtown. Citrus would cut the Fresno lead to six late, but a late charge call that was overruled and changed to a blocking foul on the Owls sucked all of Citrus' momentum out of the gym in an eventual 82-74 loss. Freshman Kyle Gray had a monster game for the Owls, scoring a team high 20 points and ripping down 10 rebounds. Freshman Quintin Bailey came off the bench and poured in 12 points, while sophomore Calvin Martin matched Gray's effort on the glass with 10 boards.
After the loss to Fresno, Citrus drew Orange Coast College in the consolation semi-finals. The Owls didn't have another slow start against the Pirates running out to a 51-35 lead at the break. Citrus kept up the offensive onslaught in the second half, scoring 51 more points en route to a 102-82 victory. Sophomore Kenneth Cyprian scored a game high 20 points, adding five rebounds and six assists. Martin would put in 19 and reel in a game high 12 rebounds, while freshman Jeremy Smith had 17 points and six assists.
In the consolation semi-finals, Citrus took on Imperial Valley College. The Owls were the model of offensive efficiency in the victory, recording 27 assists on 34 attempts from the floor, shooting 53.1% from the field, and 81.6% from the charity stripe going 31 for 38. All of that would add up to a 31-point, 108-76 victory over IVC. That after Citrus led by just five at halftime. Smith would lead all scorers with 28, and would be named to the All-Tournament team. Martin notched his second straight double-double with 14 points and 10 boards, while Cyprian had 18 points and a team high five assists. Freshman Khalil Williams stuffed the stat sheet with seven points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals, and a block.
After the weekend, Citrus record improves to 9-2 overall. The Owls will hit the road this weekend to a one-off contest at Los Angeles Pierce College (?-?). Tip-off is set for 6:00 PM in Woodland Hills.