Roger Guardia hit a last-minute step-back 3-pointer, and the Cuesta College men’s basketball team held on to upset No. 4 College of the Sequoias 74-70 to win the Cougars’ 41st Annual Rabobank Tournament for the first time since 2000 on Sunday.
Guardia, a sophomore guard from Barcelona, went 5 of 6 from 3-point range, led Cuesta (3-0) with a game-high 35 points and has become the frontrunner to lead an offense that lost 80 percent of its scoring from last season’s team with the transfers of Joe Ayarza and Tom Schumacher.
“Roger was counted upon at the start of the season to be the guy that’s going to have to put up numbers because he has an outside game and he has a penetration game,” Cougars head coach Rusty Blair said.
Cuesta also got 13 points and seven rebounds from Xavier Mylleville. Guardia had six rebounds, and point guard Christian Koutras had a game-high six assists.
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COS (2-1) had three players in double figures and was able to cut a 10-point Cougars lead with six minutes to go down to one before Guardia’s clinching 3-pointer.
The Giants beat Cuesta in the semifinal round of the tournament last season.
The Cougars’ run to the tournament title this season wasn’t exactly expected.
“When I went into the season, I really didn’t know what to expect,” Blair said. “I did know one thing: It was a really smart and hard-working basketball team.”
Cuesta will play 16 road games before returning for its next home game Jan. 9.