Photo by Bruce Jacobsen
GLENDORA - The Marauder men's basketball team did something it hadn't done since joining the Western States Conference-South Division. It also did something it hadn't done this season in conference play.
AVC earned a hard-fought 79-76 victory over Citrus College Wednesday night and in doing so defeated Citrus on the road for the first time since joining the conference three seasons ago.
The victory also snapped the Marauders road losing skid this season. AVC had dropped all four of its previous conference road games before Wednesday night's victory. The Marauders are perfect at home in conference play this season.
"We needed this win really bad. We didn't start off conference well, but we knew (coming in) we hadn't beaten them there so it gave us motivation," said AVC's Joseph Moorer. "They made their run, but we withstood it. This win is great momentum for us. It will give us extra push for the rest of conference. I think our mentality has changed. We just have to continue to start with high energy and finish with high energy."
The Marauders came out with high energy and led 24-10 at one point in the first half. They took a 44-39 into halftime.
Moorer led AVC with 22 points including three 3-pointers. Brandon Wade finished with 12 points and was 4-of-4 from 3-point range.
In a see-saw battle most of the second half which saw Citrus grab its first lead of the second half, AVC dug itself a hole as Citrus took its largest lead of the game, 70-63, with 6:26 remaining in the second half. The Marauders rallied with a 7-0 run to even the score, 70-70.
Trailing 76-74 with only 40 seconds remaining, AVC called a timeout with possession of the ball. Wade hit a 3-pointer at the top of the key as the shot clock expired giving the Marauders the lead for good, 77-76.
Jalen Etienne (nine points, nine assists) knocked down two free throws extending the lead to 79-76 with four seconds remaining. A steal by Martin following a timeout by Citrus iced the game for the Marauders.
"I feel really good about this victory because we played so hard tonight," Marauders head coach John Taylor said. "I was so proud of the guys to turn it around and play a good game. We still have to continue to get better."
AVC still has tough upcoming opponents, teams that have already beaten them this season including West LA College, Bakersfield College and Santa Monica College. The catch: all those games will be played at Marauder Gymnasium.
The Marauders still trail Bakersfield by three games atop the conference standings and Santa Monica and Glendale by two in the race for second.