Despite shooting just 54 percent from the free-throw line and 40 percent from the field, the Cuesta men’s basketball team made big shots when it mattered in a 62-52 win over Rio Hondo on Tuesday night at Joe White Memorial Gym in Santa Maria.
“Best that I can say is that we won ugly,” Cuesta coach Rusty Blair said.
Coming into the game, the Cougars were shooting around 70 percent from the free throw line for the season — but Cuesta couldn’t make a thing in the first half.
However, the team was able to hit 12 of its last 14 attempts to close out the game.
“That’s three games in a row we have shot very poorly. I hope it’s not some sort of trend,” Blair said.
Karem Ozel was the best shooter and highest scorer on the night for Cuesta. Ozel was 0-6 from three-point range but shot 6 of 7 from two-point range and made 6 of 7 free throws to finish with a game-high 18 points.
Center Roberto Mantovani had 15 rebounds and nine points for Cuesta and helped hold Rio Hondo to 36 percent shooting from the field.
Cuesta will take on Fresno City in the tournament final at 3 p.m. at Allan Hancock College.