Defending champs move into CCCAA Men's Basketball Semis, 72-64

San Diego City 72, Santa Rosa 64
2018 California Community College Athletic Association (quarterfinals)
Ventura College
Photo by Felix Cortez
San Diego City 72, Santa Rosa 64 2018 California Community College Athletic Association (quarterfinals) Ventura College Photo by Felix Cortez
VENTURA, Calif. - Ethan Esposito had 17 points as defending champion San Diego City College finally broke away in the final three minutes to turnback Santa Rosa JC, 72-64, in the opening quarterfinal game of the 2018 California Community College Athletic Association Men's Basketball Championships at Ventura College…
 
The game was tied for the seventh time, at 56, with 4:18 left on a layup by Santa Rosa's Beau Keeve, who had 14 total points. San Diego guard Thomas Nelson was then fouled on a successful drive with 3:54 remaining and converted a 3-point play to put the Knights up for good at 59-56. A jump shot by Sadik Sufi with 3:31 left closed it to 59-58 before Wonder Smith led SDCC on a 10-point run to take firm command.  
 
Prior to that, Santa Rosa's early 12-5 lead, after five minutes, was the game's largest margin. San Diego led, 36-33, at halftime, following ten lead changes and three ties.
 
Robert McCoy had 14 points for SDCC, while Smith added 13 points and seven rebounds. Taller San Diego had a 44-26 advantage in rebounds, led by Luis Salgado with nine. Salgado also scored 12 points. While the Knights had six players listed at 6-7 on their roster, Santa Rosa's tallest player was 6-5 Skylar Chavez, who had five rebounds.
 
Ryan Perez led Santa Rosa with 16 points. Sufi and Keeve each tallied 14 points. Jordan Graves had eight assists.
 
--San Diego (32-2), the top-seeded Southern California team, will play the winner of the Fresno CC vs. Orange Coast quarterfinal in Saturday's semifinals at 5 p.m. Santa Rosa, the Northern California No. 4 seed, finished 25-5.
 
San Diego won the 2017 state crown, their first, with a 53-51 triumph over Fullerton in the title game.
 
NOTABLE: Craig McMillan, in his 18th season as head coach at Santa Rosa, was a teammate of Golden State Warriors Coach Steve Kerr at the University of Arizona. McMillan lost his house in the
 
(Fred Baer)