Basketball (M)

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Knights Advance to Sweet 16 With 116-97 Win Over Long Beach

2/24/2018

The Knights are headed to the sweet sixteen for the second straight year after getting past Long Beach, 116-97, in the second round of the CCCAA tournament. Ethan Esposito scored a career-high 28 points to go along with a game-high 10 rebounds, while Wonder Smith poured in 27 points. 

It was City's 23rd win in a row and its 17th straight home win. The Knights have also won six consecutive postseason games going back to last season when they won five to capture their first state championship. 

The Knights got off to a nice start and built a 12-point lead midway through the first half, but the Long Beach City Vikings, who were led by Jamiu Akinbile's 22 points and eight rebounds, cut City's lead down to 42-40 with 4:20 left in the first half. 

City, however, finished the half with a 14-4 run to take a 56-44 lead into the locker room. The Knights shot 53.7 percent in the first half and held Long Beach to 41.7 percent. 

The Vikings stayed within 7-12 points of the Knights for the first nine minutes of the second half, but an 11-2 Knights' run put them in complete control with a 88-70 lead. 

The Knights made 79.4 percent (27-for-34) of their free throws in the second half which helped them build a 24-point lead late in the game. 

Robert McCoy, who was recently named PCAC South Most Valuable Player, played only 17 minutes because of foul trouble and scored eight of his 13 points in the second half. 

Darius Lee was the fourth Knight to score in double figures with 11 points and six boards. Issac Davis had six points and dished out six assists off the bench. 

Adrian Byrd-Jelinek added seven points, seven rebounds, and four assists in 20 minutes of action off the bench. 

City has now made it to the 30-win mark for the second straight season. The Knights went 31-5 last year and are 47-2 since January 4, 2017. 

The No.1 Knights will host No. 9 Ventura College on Saturday, March 3 in a third round game set for 7 p.m. The winner will advance to the elite eight, which will be held at Ventura College from March 9-11. 

Saturday's game will be streamed live by SoCalCollegeSports.com.

Box Score