M. Basketball: Team comes up with crucial win

File Photo: Cristian Perez posted 16 points and nine rebounds in the Falcons win
File Photo: Cristian Perez posted 16 points and nine rebounds in the Falcons win

Faced with a must-win situation, the Cerritos College men's basketball team went into hostile territory and came away with a 77-72 win over rival Long Beach City College on Friday night. The South Coast Conference South Division win snapped a three-game losing skid by a just four cumulative points. The Falcons (15-6, 1-3) will continue to try and work their way back into divisional championship contention when they host El Camino College at 5:00 p.m. next Wednesday.

Holding what they thought was a comfortable 11-point lead (67-56) with 4:53 left in the second half after sophomore Brian Nebo (St. John Bosco HS) converted a pair of free throws, Cerritos had to withstand a late charge by the Vikings (6-14, 2-2). Each time LBCC would score and try to string together a few baskets, the Falcons had a response.

Freshman Dezmon Murphy (La Mirada HS), who posted 15 points and seven rebounds off the bench, had consecutive answers, including an inspirational dunk with 2:37 left in the second half. The Falcons, who hurt themselves with sketchy free throw shooting in their last three games, netted 4-of-6 in the final 3:00 to help secure the win.

Cerritos was also successful from close range, as they accounted for 46 of their points in the paint, with their 19-12 offensive rebound advantage playing a role. Perez, who converted 8-of-13 free throws, led the Falcons with 16 points and nine rebounds, with sophomore Salvador Carlos (Downey HS/Biola University) checking in with a 12-point, 12-rebounds night. Sophomore Tyler Payne (La Mirada HS) and Nebo finished with a combined 16 points and nine rebounds, while freshman Jonathan Guzman (Paramount HS) added seven points off the bench.