Hosting Oxnard on Wednesday, the Santa Barbara City College men’s basketball team battled back from a 20-point second half deficit, falling just short with a chance to tie the game in the final moments, 65-60.
Brycyn Gossett (14 points) and Billy Whitting (11) led the team in scoring. Both forwards enjoyed efficient shooting nights as Gossett hit 6-of-8 from the field and Whitting was 5-for-9.
The Vaqueros (7-15, 2-6) trailed 63-54 with less than five minutes remaining. Guard Elijah Simpson beat the shot clock with a tough layup inside. That started a 6-0 Vaquero run in which the Condors (5-10, 1-4) were held scoreless for more than four and a half minutes.
SBCC got back-to-back stops in the final minute and Gossett fought to the ground for the rebound that gave the Vaqueros the ball with 21 seconds left down by three. Out of the timeout, Whitting found himself open from 15-feet away, but his jumper rimmed out and Oxnard put the game away at the line.
Santa Barbara held Oxnard to just 31 percent shooting over the final 20 minutes. Starters Adam Weingard and Elijah Simpson had eight points apiece, and forward Jon Pearson added six off the bench.
The Condors initially took control of the game with a 20-2 run in the first half. They went into the break leading 41-25 after knocking down four more threes than the home side.
The Vaqueros trailed 49-29 at the 17:27 mark of the second half, but looked like a different team the rest of the way. Their increased defensive effort and hustle helped spark a 19-2 spurt. Pearson hit a stepback three to beat the shot clock and capped the run with another jumper to make it just a two-point game, 53-51, with 9:28 to go, but that was the closest SBCC would be the rest of the way.
This Saturday, the Vaqueros head back on the road to play at Cuesta. Tipoff is at 5 p.m.
Michael Jorgenson works in communications/media relations at Santa Barbara City College.