By Wes McCurtis
CYPRESS, CA – The Cypress College men's basketball team (11-10, 3-3 OEC) fought off a late run from the Santa Ana Dons (6-16, 1-5 OEC) to win 80-77 at home on Wednesday night. The Chargers moved up a spot to fourth place in the Orange Empire Conference with the win.
The Chargers were led by a balanced scoring attack with all five starters finishing in double-figure points for the first time this season. Brennon Palmer led the way with 17 points, 4 blocks, and 7 rebounds. Palmer finished 6-of-8 from the floor and a perfect 5-of-5 at the foul line. David Murrell and Jordan Rohan added 16 points and 14 points, respectively.
Cypress began the game with back-to-back three-pointers to take an early 6-0 lead. The Chargers continued to knock down open shots, while limiting the Dons to contested looks as they took a 14-2 lead. Santa Ana standout QV Johnson answered with 8 straight points to give Santa Ana some life early in the game. However, the Dons had no answer for Murrell in the first half as he got to the rim at will, converting on 4-of-6 shots and 6-of-8 free throws in the first half. Cypress went into the break with a comfortable 45-33 lead.
The Chargers continued to control the game early in the second half, taking their largest lead of the game (16) with 13 minutes remaining. With just over 7 minutes left, the Dons turned to their full court press to create some easy baskets in the open court. Trailing 54-69, the Dons went on a 14-0 run over a 3-minute stretch to make it just a one point game. Cypress sophomore O'Shae Williams answered with a three-pointer to extend the lead before Palmer blocked a Johnson layup attempt leading to any easy layup from Rohan at the other end, giving Cypress a 74-68 lead. Santa Ana was unable to get over the hump as Cypress led from start to finish in the 80-77 victory.
Men's basketball will return to action at home against district rival Fullerton College this Friday at 7:00 p.m. on Coaches vs. Cancer Night. No. 7 Fullerton is coming off a big win over No. 1 Saddleback and currently sit atop the Orange Empire Conference.
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