Fresno City punches ticket to state championship semifinals by beating Orange Coast, 96-80

Fresno City 96, Orange Coast 80
2018 CCCAA Men's Basketball Championship (quarterfinals)
Ventura College
Photo by Felix Cortez
Fresno City 96, Orange Coast 80 2018 CCCAA Men's Basketball Championship (quarterfinals) Ventura College Photo by Felix Cortez

Tournament Central

VENTURA, Calif. – George Dancer and Tyus Millhollin each had 16 points to lead Fresno City College past Orange Coast College of Costa Mesa, 96-80, in a quarterfinal game at the 2018 California Community College Athletic Association Men's Basketball Championships on Friday at Ventura College.

The Rams (28-4), the No. 2 seed from Northern California and champions of the Central Valley Conference, advance to play defending state champion and top Southern California seed San Diego City College (32-2) in the semifinals on Saturday at 5p.m. That could be another high scoring affair, with Fresno averaging 94 points a game and San Diego 90.

Fresno had five players in double figures. Tommy Nuno, a 6-5 sophomore guard out of Half Moon Bay High, came close to a triple double for the Rams with 12 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds -- but was not needed down the stretch. Drew Cobb, a 6-4 freshmen guard from Sheldon High and Elk Grove, had 15 points. Jess Spivey (Sierra High, Manteca) had 13 points and eight rebounds.

After a foul marked first 15 minutes marked by 9 lead changes and four ties, Fresno broke away from a 29-all deadlock to go up by 11 at the break, 47-36, led by 12 points from Dancer, a 6-3 freshman guard out of Modesto's Fred C. Beyer High School. That was just too big of a gap for the Pirates to overcome.

They made one run after the intermission, closing the margin to 51-47 before Fresno pulled ahead for good. The Rams led by as many as 24 points, 96-72, before Orange Coast tallied the game's final eight points. The Orange Empire Champion Pirates (22-8) were led by Joshua Davis, a 6-2 freshman center, with 27 points and eight rebounds. They also got 19 points from Lloyd Wright and 14 from Malik Skillern (who connected on four of his five 3-point attempts).

Fresno has been a familiar 21st century finalist with state championships in 2005, 2007, and 2012 and a runner-up finish in 2003. Orange Coast had hoped to make a successful return to the state tournament -- since last winning the title in 1979.

(Fred Baer, College of San Mateo Athletics)