EL CAJON, Calif.—The San Diego Christian College men's basketball team used a hot-shooting second half and played tough defense down the stretch to knock off the defending national champion Concordia University 84-74 on Saturday night.
With the win, SDCC moves to 5-8 overall and 2-2 in conference play. CU falls to 12-6 and 1-3 in the GSAC.
"I told the guys in the locker room how proud I was that they never took a possession off tonight," said SDCC head coach Tim Cook. "If we play 40 minutes of offense and 40 minutes of defense, we will put ourselves in a position to win."
"We did that tonight."
The first half saw the Eagles jump on top over the first nine minutes, building a 17-7 lead with 11:17 on the clock. SDCC started to chip away, and eventually took the lead at 28-27 on a 3-pointer from Andy Saharan with four and half minutes left in the half.
CU was able to recapture the lead and held a 37-34 lead at the break.
The second half saw both teams go back and forth with four ties and five lead changes in the first nine minutes. With 10:52 on the clock, SDCC's Kwaminque Brandon knocked a pair of free throws to give SDCC a 55-53 lead. The Hawks would not trail again.
Brandon's free throws started a 9-1 run that pushed the Hawks up 62-54 with 8:54 left in the game. Three separate times the Eagles would cut the advantage to three points, but SDCC's offense kept attacking and scored on those ensuing possessions.
After CU made it a 72-69 game, SDCC rolled out a 7-0 run to take their largest lead of the game at 79-69. The Hawks made free throws down the stretch and kept CU off the score board, claiming the 84-74 win.
SDCC had five in double figures, led Brandon's 18 points. Andy Saharan had 15 points, while Raphael Rodriguez added 12. Peter Beale-Wirsing chipped in 11 points and Derrick Thompson had 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists.
The Hawks were 17-30 (56.7%) from the field in the second half and shot 54.5 percent (30-55) for the game while holding CU to 39 percent (23-59) shooting.
"I am pleased with the fact that we are putting ourselves in position to compete with the league's best teams," added Cook. "This conference is incredibly difficult due to the differing nature of each team. We must continue to stay focused in our preparation and show up prepared for a battle. "
The Hawks now travel to Arizona Christian (12-4, 2-2 GSAC) on Tuesday, January 22 to battle the GSAC's newest member.