Knights Erase 15-Point 2nd Half Deficit to Beat CCSF and Advance to the State Championship
The Knights overcame a 15-point second half deficit to defeat the defending state champion City College of San Francisco, 79-77, and advance to the CCCAA state championship game on Sunday, March 12 against Fullerton College at Las Positas College in Livermore, Calif.
After a disappointing first half which ended with City behind, 41-31, the Knights (30-5) came out flat early in the second half and fell behind by 15 points.
Robert McCoy went to the line with 16:55 remaining and converted the first free throw, but missed the second attempt. Pacific Coast Athletic Conference-South player of the Year grabbed the offensive rebound and then hit a 3-pointer that only cut San Francisco's to 11, but it seemed to jump start the Knights.
That turned out to be the start of a 15-3 run that got the Knights to within three points at 57-54 midway through the second half. The 49ers responded by pushing their lead back up to eight, but the Knights kept fighting and took their first lead since the second minute of the game on a 3-pointer from freshman guard Wonder Smith, who finished with a team-high 17 points.
San Francisco regained the lead two minutes later on a 3-pointer with 2:28 left by Zach Copeland, who had a game-high 28 points.
Smith responded with another 3-pointer, his third of the game, at the 2:06 mark to give the Knights a 73-71 lead. He then had a crucial steal and layup t to give the Knights their biggest lead, 75-71, with 26 seconds to go.
Sophomore guard Darien McClain, who finished with 15 points, went 4-for-4 from the free throw line in the final 17.5 seconds to seal the Knights' 16th consecutive win that put them in position to win their first ever state championship.
Sunday's championship game will be a rematch of the Knights' Invitational tournament final earlier this season on November 6, 2016. Fullerton (26-6) pulled away in the second half of that game to win, 76-65.
The state final will be broadcast live via SoCalCollegeSports.com
with the tipoff scheduled for 1 p.m.Box Score