The Cuesta College men’s basketball team struggled from the field in the first half and lost to Chaffey 52-43 in the championship game of the Rabobank Tournament on Sunday at Cuesta.
The Cougars (2-1) shot just 24 percent (6 of 25) in the first half, including 2 of 11 from 3-point range, and scored just 14 points.
Chaffey, ranked No. 2 in the Southern California region in the California Community Colleges Men’s Basketball Coaches Association pre-season rankings and coming off back-to-back Final Four appearances at the state tournament, wasn’t much better, shooting
33 percent (10 of 30) and taking a 22-14 lead into halftime.
“They are one of the top teams in the state,” Cougars coach Rusty Blair said. “This is what we knew we were going to get. We’re glad to play a top team like this early. It was a good experience for our freshman. We did a good job holding them to 22 points in the first half.”
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The Cougars shot much better in the second half and finished at 37 percent (18 for 49).
Tayler Thompson and Rafael Cassanova scored 10 points each to lead Cuesta. Rafael Eleftheriou added nine points, four assists and three steals, Kevawn Lord had seven points and Keshawn Liggins had a team-high nine rebounds for the Cougars.
Cuesta outrebounded Chaffey 32-26. Carl Robinson scored 13 points to lead the Panthers.
Cuesta’s Benat Hevia had four assists.
Cuesta turned the ball over 20 times in the loss.
Thompson and Cassanova were named to the all-tournament team.
Big West Championships at Cal Poly
Connie Caliz and Christina Burkenroad each scored in the first 10 minutes of the match as Cal State Fullerton clinched its second straight Big West Tournament title with a 2-1 victory over Long Beach State on Sunday at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
The Titans (10-7-4), the Big West regular season champions, will make a second straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
Burkenroad was named the Big West Tournament MVP.
Long Beach State (8-7-6) scored in the 28th minute, when Ashley Gonzales tallied her ninth goal of the season.
Fullerton goalkeeper Jennifer Stuart had a season-high 10 saves.
Ashton McKeown finished the match with six saves for the 49ers.
Cal Poly, the second seed in the conference tournament, was eliminated with a shootout loss to Long Beach State on Thursday night.