A strong presence in the paint and a dominant showing from the bench aided another strong victory for the Riverside City College men's basketball team in Orange Empire Conference (OEC) play against the Saddleback College Gauchos. The Tigers dominated the boards and utilized a strong first half as seen in a 13-point advantage leading to a 67-60 win.
The Gauchos made things interesting in the second half as 17-point Riverside lead was trimmed down to four with approximately four minutes remaining. The Tigers stayed poised and kept the Gauchos at bay with a set of free throws from freshman guard Zekiah LoVett, backed by two more free throws from freshman guard Edwyn Collins with under a minute remaining. Saddleback had one more chance to trim the lead, but freshman guard Amir Davis rose up for a block to soak their hopes of gaining any potential ground.
It was an evenly fought battle on paper as many categories were neck and neck. Despite a lowly shooting night from the floor, the Tigers got it done from long range as seen in a 31.6 three-point shooting percentage (6-for-19). Riverside owned the boards, despite being outscored in the paint by one point, leading to 46 rebounds to Saddleback's 27.
Sophomore center Justin Motley shined for the second-consecutive game after recording a season high double-double with 17 points and 15 rebounds. Collins joined him from the bench brigade with 11 points by hitting a trio of trey balls.
Freshman point guard Melvin Walker acted as the facilitator by dishing out six assists and bucketing 10 points. Freshman guard Xavier Ford carted the early hot hand with all of his eight points coming in the first half.
Riverside (11-7, 6-0 OEC) will take on its biggest test of the season as they will face off against undefeated and No. 3 Santiago Canyon (16-0, 4-0 OEC) on the road Wednesday, January 15 at 5 p.m.