Cuesta Hands Men's Cagers Round 1 Playoff Loss

Lancer Giovonni Jackson grabs the rebound during PCC's playoff loss to Cuesta Wednesday night, photo by Richard Quinton.
Lancer Giovonni Jackson grabs the rebound during PCC's playoff loss to Cuesta Wednesday night, photo by Richard Quinton.

One of the state's best 3-point shooting teams made the nets at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium seem like their own as #17 seed Cuesta College rained in 15 threes to send the #14 Pasadena City College to a 70-62 defeat in a Southern California Regional Round 1 Playoff game Wednesday night.

The Lancers (17-12) saw their best season since 2013-14 come to close after making only one basket out of 11 attempts beyond the 3-point arc. Meanwhile, Cuesta (22-7) shot a sizzling 45.5 percent from long range, including 6-foot-5 forward Iker Cruz launching a near perfect 6-for-7 on triples as part of his game-high 21 points. Teammate Joshua Wilson-Murry did things the more conventional way with many drives to hoop to add 20 points plus seven rebounds and five assists. Off the bench, Alexander Karras drained three 3-pointers as part of his 13 points. 

PCC was paced by Giovonni Jackson, who scored 13 of his 19 points in the second half. Jordan Simpson added 11 points, nine rebounds, and three steals while Chris Blount scored nine points with six boards. Josiah Woods picked up eight points and joined the Lancers 500-point club, finishing his PCC 2-year career with 505 points. 

The Lancers took a 2-0 lead on a Jackson jumper and that would be the only time PCC would be in front. The Cougars raced to a 14-6 lead and then 25-15. Pasadena responded to cut it to 25-23 on a Simpson rebound and bank shot. Cuesta came back with a pair of treys by Cruz and one by Karras to help take a 36-28 halftime advantage.

In the second half, Cuesta changed its tactics and surprised PCC's defense by working the ball to the basket by their speedy guards. Wilson-Murry hit a flurry of layups, three in 2-minute span and a Karras jumper extended Cuesta's largest lead to 62-41 with eight minutes left. The hole was too big for PCC although they got as close as 62-49. Cruz hit back-to-back triples, one he overshot but banked off the glass to put the game out of reach at 68-51. 

The Cougars are an international all-star team with 11 of their 14 players from outside the United States, including five from Spain including Cruz. Despite being Co-Western State Conference North Division champions, Cuesta was dealt a 17th seed. The Lancers picked up a postseason home game (their first since 2004) even though they were third place in the South Coast Conference North Division. 

The meeting between Cuesta and PCC was the first by the two colleges in 21 years.