Mon.,Nov 14th, 2011 [box score]
Salt Lake City, UT. --
A home game against an NAIA school is supposed to be a game where the newest member of the Pac 12, University of Utah, could hone their skills before jumping into the Division I portion of their schedule; the Utes got much more than that on Monday night, as the San Diego Christian College men’s basketball team fell in the final seconds 58-55 at the Huntsman Center.
"We handled the moment really well," said Head Coach Tim Cook. "This was another valuable experience as we continue to improve as a team."
The first half saw both teams go back and forth early, with SDCC taking a 10-5 advantage on a layup by Kevin Dawson. The Utes responded with a small 12-2 run to jump up at the 10:53 mark and looked to be in control. The Hawks would bounce right back with a 15-4 run to take a 27-21 lead after a Tony Cali jumper, forcing Utah to call a timeout.
The Utes scored the next seven, to take the lead with just over 3:30 left in the first half, before a Dawson jumper would shift the lead back in favor of SDCC. Utah closed the half with a pair of free throws to head into the locker room with a 30-29 advantage.
"We felt confident heading into half with the way we were playing," said Cook. "We were disciplined and knew if we kept that going in the second half, we would be in the game."
The second half continued like the first, with neither team able to pull away. Utah held a slight advantage until a layup from Xavier Mylleville tied the game at 41-41 with 10:55 remaining. Utah responded with a small 6-0 run and appeared to start to distance themselves from SDCC. But the Hawks would continue to be relentless in their attack keeping the game within striking distance as time dwindled down.
With less than two minutes left, SDCC found themselves trailing 54-48 after a pair of Ute free throws. SDCC’s Johnny Delbene was fouled going up for a layup. Delbene converted on 1-2 free throws to cut the lead to five with 1:43 left. SDCC forced a stop to get the ball back, but was unable to convert on the offensive end. After Utah made 1-2 free throws, Delbene missed a jumper and Dawson grabbed an offensive rebound. Dawson immediately kicked the ball out to an open Benji Arvizu who promptly drilled a three to make it a one possession game, 55-52.
It appeared that SDCC was out of chances after a pair of Utah freethrows, but Arvizu was fouled on a three point attempt, setting up three free throw tries. Arvizu hit all three free throws and SDCC fouled just as the ball was inbounded. Utah made 1 of 2, making a desperation heave for SDCC a possibility to tie, but Tim Sanders' half court shot fell short at Utah held on 58-55.
The Hawks were led by Tim Sanders(pictured left) with 11 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Arvizu added 9 points, while Mylleville added 8 points in limited time due to foul trouble. Arturo Prieto chipped in with 8 points off the bench.
Cook expressed his appreciation for his team's effort after the game. "Coming off that loss to Carroll on Saturday, I felt like we were doing what we needed in spurts, but not for a full 40 minutes. Tonight was a different story. We stuck to our system and were disciplined on both ends of the court in addition to playing hard. That is what will keep you in games and will win you games. We grew up tonight."
The Hawks continue their difficult schedule on Wednesday at the University of San Diego at 7:00pm.
Photo by Mark C. Cooley Photography