The Riverside City College men's basketball team entered into an Orange Empire Conference (OEC) play on a four game conference-winning streak. Half of those victories have come by a single-digit spread as Riverside has shown the ability to win close games down the stretch. The Tigers expanded their winning streak to five games by defeating a red-hot Cypress squad by the final score of 54-45.
Despite the Tigers holding an early lead, the momentum quickly shifted to Cypress at the halfway point of the first half. The Chargers utilized an 8-1 run to snag the advantage putting Riverside in an early bind.
Freshman guard Edwyn Collins snapped the Chargers streak with a pair of free throws, backed by another set of free throws from sophomore guard Xavier Ford on the ensuing possession. Freshman forward Amir Davis brought the Tigers to within to with a layup while Ford punched his second trip to the charity stripe shortly after Davis' buckets. He followed by hitting both free throws to knot the game at 17-all.
A back and forth affair ensued in the final six minutes, but a set of free throws from Cypress handed them a 29-27 advantage at halftime.
The Chargers continued to control the game in the opening minutes of the second half, but the Tigers earned their first lead five minutes in as Collins drained a triple to go up by two points. Collins followed by hitting another three ball, backed by another Davis layup. Freshman guard Kevin Mba followed with two points off the glass to grant the Tigers a 42-36 advantage with approximately 10 minutes remaining.
From then on, Riverside controlled the ball game, as they did not let up on the gas pedal despite a threatening Charger offense. They held Cypress at bay leading to a 54-45 win.
Davis earned his first-career double-double by dropping 13 points and hauling in 12 rebounds. He added two assists and two steals in the process. Collins paced the offense with 15 points, while Ford bucketed 13 points and grabbed six boards.
Riverside (16-8, 11-1 OEC) will continue action on the road Friday, February 7 against the Irvine Valley College Lasers at 6 p.m.