West Hills College Coalinga closed the 2018 non-conference schedule with an 84-78 comeback victory over visiting College of the Canyons, Saturday at the Falcons Gymnasium.
WHCC improved to 5-7 on the season, while the Cougars fell to 7-7.
The Falcons trailed at halftime, 47-37, as Canyons hit five 3-pointers and also used its size advantage in the paint.
WHCC head coach Ade Olanrewaju said his message to the team in the locker room was mainly to pick up the intensity.
"We needed to play better on-ball defense and challenge more on every shot," he said.
"Our energy was much different in the second half and our sophomores did a good job controlling the pace down the stretch."
Saintvil also led the team with four steals, and was 6-for-7 from the free throw line.
Adding to the balanced scoring, WHCC got solid contributions by sophomore point guard Matthew Pitter (9 pts), sophomore guard Joseph Nicolas (9 pts), redshirt freshman point guard Isaiah Green (8 pts, 5-5 FTs), sophomore wing Anthony Johnson (8 pts, 4 rbs, 3 steals), and sophomore forward Sh'Keil McDowell (8 pts, team-high 7 rbs).
The experienced players played a major role in showing composure, as the team rallied in the final 10 minutes.
"We have good chemistry, knowing where to find each other on the floor," said Saintvil.
"We were motivated by our coaches and one another during halftime, and knew what corrections we had to make. This win is definitely a confidence-booster as we head into the conference with a goal to be champions."
The Falcons have won four of their last five - only losing to Bakersfield on a 3-pointer at the buzzer on Tuesday.
UP NEXT: WHCC will open the 2019 Central Valley Conference season with two home games - Jan. 5 (Cerro Coso) and Jan. 9 (Fresno).