RIVERSIDE, Calif. — No. 5-statewide ranked East Los Angeles College defeated Saddleback College 62-56 in the 47th Annual Riverside City College Holiday Classic at Wheelock Gymnasium, this year a robin-round tournament.
ELAC won the game down the stretch at the line. The Huskies led 57-47 with 2:39 left in the contest when they committed a turnover. Saddleback made a ferocious comeback scoring 9 points but ELAC responded with 5-of-6 free throws to hold on for the six-point win.
The first half was back-and-forth and included 11 lead changes and four ties. Saddleback’s Shawn Stith made a three-point jump shot at the 6:57 mark and the Gauchos led 24-18. ELAC closed the half on a 12-3 run and led 30-27 at the break.
ELAC shot 41.7 percent (10-of-14) from the field in the second half while limiting Saddleback to 37.5% (6-of-16). Both teams shot 29.4% (5-of-17) from beyond the arc during the game.
The Huskies were 21-of-27 (78%) from the charity strip while the Gauchos shot 19-of-26.
Sophomore guard Alec Hickman (Serra High School), a transfer from UC Riverside, led the Huskies with 13 points and sophomore guard Abdul Bah (Narbonne HS) scored 11. Stith scored 18 for Saddleback.
Sophomore forward Solomon Hunt (Upland HS) had a game-high nine rebounds. He had a game-high three rebounds for the Huskies off the offensive glass as did sophomore guard Deshaun Highler (JW North HS), a transfer from University of Texas El Paso.
Bah and sophomore forward Babacar Thiombane (Fairfax HS), a transfer from Army West Point, each had a team-high three assists for ELAC. Thiombane had a team-high two steals. Hunt and freshman center Malik Muhammad (Narbonne HS) each blocked a shot for the Huskies.
The Huskies, 5-2 overall, meet host Riverside (6-3) tomorrow with at 6 p.m.
ELAC plays No. 14 Copper Mountain College (7-3), Saturday, Dec. 8 at noon. Wheelock Gymnasium is located at 4800 Magnolia Ave. Riverside, CA 92506.
Follow ELAC Athletics at http://athletics.elac.edu/landing/index and ELAC Huskies Athletics on Facebook.
story submitted by Tadzio Garcia