Calen Coleman scored 15 points, and Cuesta College’s men’s basketball team won a defensive slugfest Wednesday night with a 60-53 Western State Conference victory at Allen Hancock College.
The Cougars (19-7, 7-1 WSC), who lost to the Bulldogs by one point in a December tournament, completed a conference sweep of Hancock in remaining atop the WSC’s Northern Division.
Cuesta completed a sweep of Ventura on Saturday and is now 4-0 against the two teams directly below them in the Northern Division standings.
“We had to come here and it was the biggest game of the season for us, just like the Ventura game was the biggest game of the season for us,” Cuesta head coach Rusty Blair said. “Now the (Saturday home) game against Moorpark is the biggest game of the season.
“Moorpark seems to be our nemesis. We lost on their floor earlier this year and they beat us twice last year and they have the same players they had last year. We have to control our home court advantage. We can’t say we have the breathing room although it appears we do.”
The Bulldogs (18-7, 5-3) led 29-25 at halftime before Cuesta took the lead in the second half. A 3-pointer by Plamen Hristov gave the Cougars a seven-point lead with about six minutes to go and Cuesta came away with the win.
Hristov finished with 13 points for Cuesta, Malte Kramer had 11 points and Sofian M’Rad had eight points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots.
Cuesta 67, Allan Hancock 52
Alyssa Palma scored 12 of her team-high 18 points as the Cougars outscored the Bulldogs 39-25 in the second half to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Cuesta led 28-27 at halftime and then pulled away in the second half behind a big night from its backcourt. Cougars head coach Ron Barba said he challenged his guards to be more productive offensively and they came through with 42 points.
Palma was 7 of 10 from the field and made 3-of-4 3-pointers. Rachael Warner and Aria Johnson both scored 13 points, Katie Rodriguez had 11 points and Kati Sheldon grabbed 12 rebounds for Cuesta (13-10, 5-3 WSC).
The Cougars also had a strong defensive game as they held Hancock’s Camille Zumbro, who scored 34 points the last time the two teams met, to 18 points, including only five in the second half. Diana Hale added 15 points for the Bulldogs (5-17, 0-7).