By Melvyn Rivas
By Melvyn Rivas
The Riverside City College men’s basketball team rolled over the Ventura Pirates on sophomore night in Riverside 83-66.
Robbie Robinson led the tigers with a double-double of 33 points and 10 rebounds.
Alongside him, forward Donovan Buford scored 14 points and guard Daniel Redmon scored 12 points in their last home game of the season.
The Tigers reached 20 victories for the fourth consecutive season.
Ventura, champions of the Western State-North Division, was no match for Riverside.
Danny Benson led Ventura with 15 points and two assists for the night.
The Tigers, coming off a previous loss, took control with a full court pressure defense and scoring runs of 8-1 in the first half and 6-2 in the second half.
The win ensures that the Tigers are still on the hunt for the state title, which they have not won since 1966.
Ventura went six of 21 in the first half and nine of 24 in the second.
The Tigers shot 41 percent, including 50 percent in the second half.
Robinson shot 9-for-13, including 3-for-4 from three-point range.
The team held the Pirates to 33 percent shooting and forced 22 turnovers.
Ventura also struggled all night from the free throw line, going 34-for-50.
The Tigers ended the first half with a 38-25 lead.
The guys opened up the second half with the same energy and determination to win.
Coached by John Smith, the Tigers continued to execute their excellent full court press.
With only seven minutes gone in the second half, RCC had already jumped to a 19 point lead.
The Tigers went on to lead by as many as 23 points.
The Pirates were not going to sink that easy though.
With 4:20 left in the game, the Tigers were only up by ten, but the smart thinking Smith called on his bench to help out the team, which could not have come at a better time.
The reserves stepped in and made some key defensive plays to push the lead back to 15.
Robinson punctuated the final run with a three point-play to give RCC a 78-61 lead with 1:57 left.
With the RCC Band and Cheerleading Squad hyping up the crowed it took 30 seconds left in the game for the fans to begin to chant, “Na na na na, na na na na, hey, hey, hey, good bye.”
The RCC men’s basketball team is difficult enough to beat when Robinson is putting up big numbers and the rest of his teammates are clicking too.
It is hard not to say that the Tigers are once again looking like a tough contender for the state title.
Riverside went on to face Citrus in a critical game to see who will go to the state title game in Fresno March 12-15 at Selland Arena to fight for ultimate bragging rights.
The RCC men’s basketball team won a close last second game, beating Citrus 72-71 with a game ending half court shot by Citrus coming up short.