M. Basketball: Team posts key win over LA Southwest

File Photo: Austin Freeman turned in a double-double
File Photo: Austin Freeman turned in a double-double

With two of their inside players in foul trouble, Cerritos College men's basketball head coach Russ May turned to sophomore Austin Freeman (Rancho Dominguez Prep HS) and he came through in a big way. The two-sport athlete, who spends the fall as an offensive lineman on the football team, turned in a double-double to help the Falcons (21-6, 8-1) to an 86-82 South Coast Conference South Division win over visiting Los Angeles Southwest College (10-17, 4-5) on Wednesday. The team will close out the regular season on Friday with a 5:00 p.m. game at Los Angeles Harbor College.

After falling behind, 64-63 with 7:38 left on the clock, Cerritos responded right away with conseuctive jump shots from sophomores Cody Wilkes (La Mirada HS) and Dezmon Murphy (La Mirada HS) for a 67-64 advantage. The 6-foot-10 Freeman, who finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench, pulled down a missed Cougars shot and finished off the play with a layup. Sophomore Jamal Heckard (Carson HS/El Camino College), who contributed 20 points, seven assists and six rebounds, stole the next possession and went in for a breakaway layup, which put the Falcons in front, 71-66 with 4:56 left in the game.

With time running out on the clock, Wilkes (18 points) drained a baseline three-pointer, while Murphy (11 points, four rebounds) followed with an offensive rebound and tip-in and capped off another fast break oppourtunity with a jumper to give Cerritos a 78-69 lead with 2:43 on the clock.

The Cougars Richard McMichael hit a three-pointer with 1:48 lft to make it an 80-76 lead, but Wilkes came right down and matched his trey to put the lead back at seven points. McMichael (15 points) hit another late three-pointer, but it wasn't enough, as the Falcons posted the win.

Freshman Chance Hunter (Inglewood HS), who fouled out with 8:31 remaining and the Falcons holding a 63-62 lead, finished with nine points and eight rebounds, while Murphy was saddled with four fouls for final 14:26 of the game and spent most of it on the bench.