Men's JC basketball: Free throw woes sink Seahawks in preseason loss


APTOS — After going undefeated in the month of December, the Cabrillo College men’s basketball team lost what some were calling “the most physical game played this year in the CCCAA” to the visiting Allan Hancock College Bulldogs, 81-77, Saturday night in the Adobe Palace. 

Over the course of the game, 18 shots where blocked, nine by each team, and it was a rare occurrence to see an uncontested shot from either squad.

The Bulldogs jumped out to a 16-point lead early in the first half behind a ruthless full-court press that had the Seahawks reeling and struggling to inbound the ball.

After finding its feet, and the proper outlet pass, Cabrillo came charging back to shrink the lead to four at the half. 

There were 21 personal fouls and two technicals called in the first half, neither coach was particularly happy with the officiating.

In the second half, the Bulldogs managed to build another big lead with nine minutes remaining, but the Seahawks leaned on their captain Trey Whitley and his game-high 24 points to shrink the lead to four with 30 seconds left in the game.

It came down to free throws. The Bulldogs made theirs, and the Seahawks did not.

The Seahawks missed half their free throw attempts (14-of-28) ultimately costing them the chance to win.

“We could have beat that team, we should have beaten that team,” Whitley said. “But when you don't make free throws its going to be tough to win against any opponent, never mind a talented one like (Allan Hancock).”

Allan Hancock came into the game the seventh-ranked team in Southern California, according to a recent poll released by California Community College Men’s Basketball Coaches Association. Cabrillo was ranked 19th overall in the state and seventh in Northern California, according to the same poll.

Five Bulldogs players scored in double digits and 11 registered at least one point in the contest. The Bulldogs shot a lights-out 57.1 percent from beyond the 3-point line, going 12-of-21, and displayed great ball movement with 52 percent of their made field goals coming off of an assist. 

Yeskin Williams, a sophomore forward from Pearland, Texas, filled up the stat line for the Seahawks with a double double (13 points, 13 rebounds) in addition to five steals, four assists and four blocks.

Whitley, a sophomore guard from Santa Cruz, shot 8-of-19 from the field, 3-of-7 from 3-point land and 5-of-8 from the free-throw line. Whitley also contributed six assists and four rebounds on the evening.

“This is a very good program here, we had a week to prepare and we needed the whole week,” said Bulldogs coach Tyson Aye. “They are very good, very long, and athletic. Defensively, they are very sound. This team is really talented, (Whitley) is a special player. I hope we see them again, because if we do than that means we are both in the Elite Eight.”

Mike Mensah, a 6-foot-4 freshman guard from Los Angeles, led the Bulldogs in scoring with 18 points, including a perfect 4-of-4 from beyond the arc. Gabrys Sadaunykas, a 6-foot-5 sophomore guard from Santa Maria, chipped in 16 points and pulled down a team-high nine rebounds.

Six-foot-9 sophomore forward JT Riddick of Waterbury, Conn., was an absolute force in the paint blocking seven shots, scoring six points, pulling down three rebounds and generally disrupting a Seahawks' squad that was unaccustomed to being pushed around by a dominant big man.

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