EL CAJON, Calif.—Trailing by 15 points with just over eight minutes to play in the game, the San Diego Christian College men's basketball team appeared to be facing an insurmountable deficit against twelfth ranked Hope International University.
The Hawks, refusing to quit, went on a 19-5 to run to cut the Royals' lead to 58-57 with sixteen seconds to play, only to see the HIU knock down free throws and Andy Saharan's three pointer bounce off the back of the rim, and the Royals escaped the Ryan Athletic Center with a 62-60 win.
HIU runs its record to a 21-2 overall and 6-1 in the GSAC. SDCC now stands 5-11 overall and 2-6 in conference play.
The game went back and forth in the early going, until HIU went on an 16-1 run over a four minute stretch to take a 29-16 lead with just over four minutes remaining in the half.
SDCC responded and ended the half on a 10-4 run to cut the Royals' lead to 33-26 heading into the locker room.
SDCC shot 11-30 (36.7%) from the field in the first half, while HIU was 14-31 (45.2%). The Royals were sparked by senior Jeremy Kilgore, who had 17 points in the first twenty minutes on 7-10 shooting.
The second half saw HIU and SDCC exchange buckets quickly, before the Royals reeled off a 16-6 run to push their lead to their largest margin at 51-36 at the 9:50 mark.
SDCC slowly chipped away at the lead, and started a vigorous comeback when trailing 58-45 with 5:32 on the clock.
After a stop on the defensive end, Brandon split two HIU defenders and converted a layup in traffic to cut the lead down to 58-52. Moments later, Saharan nailed a 3-pointer from the corner, making it a one possession with just over one minute to play.
On the ensuing possession, the Hawks forced a shot clock violation by the Royals, giving SDCC the ball with :26 on the clock.
Following an SDCC timeout, the Hawks' Derrick Thompson drove into the lane, laying the ball in and cutting the HIU lead to 58-57 with :16 left in the game.
SDCC fouled Kilgore on the inbound, and the HIU guard knocked down both free throws. On the next possession for the Hawks, Saharan's three pointer bounced off the back of the rim and was hauled in by the Royals' Orlando Collins. Collins was fouled and connected on both free throws, making it a two possession game at 62-57.
SDCC's Kevin Dawson nailed a 3-pointer with :1.6 remaining, but HIU was able to inbound the ball and run out the clock to capture the win.
Both Brandon and Dawson scored 12 points to lead SDCC. Jacob Garcia added 10 points.
Kilgore led the way for HIU with 25 points. Austin Sanford had 17 points and Collins added 10 points and 12 rebounds.
SDCC was 24-58 (41.4%) from the field in the game, including shooting 46.4 percent (13-28) in the second half. HIU shot 42.9 percent (24-56) and was limited to 10-25 (40%) shooting by SDCC defense.
The Hawks host sixth ranked Westmont College on Saturday, January 2. Game time is set for 7:30pm.