Photo by Bruce Jacobsen
VENTURA - Marauder men's basketball head coach John Taylor probably explained it best following his team's opening game of the season.
"We had some jitters and missed some easy buckets," he said. "But hey we'll take it."
The Marauders led by as many as 15 points against Pasadena City College only to see that lead dwindle away, but they held on for a 64-63 victory over the Lancers, Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the Ventura Tournament.
"I thought we played ok. Defensively we were just ok. when we got up by 15, that's when the breaks came on and we took early shots which fed into what they tried to do," Taylor said. "The guys made some silly mistakes, but we grinded it out. We will get better."
The Marauders (1-0) were led by D'Mauria Jones who finished with a game-high 21 points on 7-of-16 shooting. Osi Nwachukwu finished with 14 points and eight rebounds and freshman phenom Gregory Floyd, Jr. added 12 points.
With the victory AVC, ranked No. 12 in the state, will now face Riverside College, which is ranked No. 11 in the state. The Tigers held on for a 73-65 victory over Moorpark College in which they trailed at halftime.
The Marauders led 32-30 at halftime and extended their lead to 46-31 following a 14-1 run to open the second half. Leading 50-35 midway through the second half, the Lancers (0-1) chipped away at the lead and cut it to 58-55 with 5:18 remaining.
Pasadena fought all the way back and took a 61-59 lead with 1:28 remaining in the game. A free throw by Nwachukwu trimmed the lead to 61-60 and later Jamar Kemp sank two free throws to put AVC back on top, 62-61. The Lancers' Joseph Hampton netted a jumper with less than 30 seconds remaining giving his team a 63-62 lead. Jones wa fouled with 12 seconds remaining and hit both free throws to seal the victory for the Marauders.
Pasadena had a 31-12 free throw advantage over AVC, however, it only made 16. The Marauders had on off shooting night from 3-point range as they were only 5-of-21 from behind the arc.