By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
College of the Canyons mounted a big second-half run behind the efforts of Jordan Nash, Zach Phipps and Christopher Bradford but was unable to come out ahead, instead falling 75-69 to visiting No. 7 state ranked Santa Monica College.
Canyons (7-7, 2-0) struggled to contain the Corsairs in the early going, trailing by as many as 17 in the first half, but closed that gap with a pair of three-pointers by Bradford and a clutch jumper from Nash during the final two minutes of the first half.
Nevertheless, Santa Monica (12-4, 2-0) held a 38-27 advantage heading into halftime.
The game, which was the first for Canyons in the newly renovated Cougar Cage, also featured the return of forward Michael Davidson to the starting lineup. Davidson converted on a pair of three-point attempts to go with four rebounds and a block.
Bradford was 4-of-5 from three-point land and led Canyons with 19 points. He also tied for the game high with 10 rebounds and rounded out the evening with five assists and a pair of steals.
Phipps had a string shooting night, finishing 8-of-16 from the floor for 18 points. Nash also finished in double figures despite getting into some early foul trouble. He scored 12 points and added three assists.
Sophomore Jah-Kez Moore was limited to just a minute of action in the opening half after also picking up two quick fouls. His departure forced COC head coach Howard Fisher to look toward freshman Virgil Mahoney who responded with five points and six rebounds off the bench.
SMC guard Daisone Hughes led the Corsairs with 21 points, going 6-of-9 from the field. Starters Isaiah Simpson and Elias King both finished with 14 points. Santa Monica also received 23 bench points compared to just nine from Canyons.
COC picked up the pace in the second half, outscoring Santa Monica by a 42-37 margin, but couldn't overcome the early deficit.
Canyons held the Corsairs scoreless over the final two and a half minutes of play, but did not get another bucket after Nash's jump shot at the 40-second mark.
The Cougars return to action at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15, at L.A. Valley College in the third game of the Western State Conference (WSC), South Division schedule.
Stay up to date on all this season's action by following the College of the Canyons Athletic department on social media at @COCathletics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
— Photo by Chad Peters/COC Sports Information