Fullerton College men’s basketball team is now one step closer to capturing the Orange Empire Conference title after defeating Copper Mountain College 62-43 on Wednesday.
With the win over Copper Mountain, the Hornets extended their win streak to six games.
Three Hornets reached double figures in scoring, including guard Jailen Moore’s team-high 17 points.
The Hornets improved to 10-1 in conference play this season, with the only blemish on their record coming in a 69-63 loss against Copper Mountain a few weeks earlier.
“They’re out in the middle of nowhere and we had a really rough bus ride out there. We had three or four guys get really sick before the game and there were a lot of things that went wrong for us leading up to the game and that kind of affected us on the floor,” said Fullerton College’s head coach Perry Webster.
The Hornets ranked as the second best men’s basketball team in the state by the California Community College Athletic Association, a title Webster said the team was determined to keep after their lone conference loss to the Fighting Cacti.
“It’s good to be here but we’ve been here before. We want to make sure we finish this thing off and win the league championship and then finish it off at the end and win state championship,” Webster said.
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With Fullerton College trailing Copper Mountain 23-18 in the first half, it appeared the Hornets’ five-game win streak was coming to an end. The Hornets were shooting 20.6 percent from the field compared to the Fighting Cacti’s 36 percent.
“We were doing the right things in the first half, we were just missing a lot of shots that we normally make so we talked in halftime about continuing to play our game and see how it works out,” Webster said.
Hornets guard Lance Coleman II has functioned as the main cog of the Hornets offense, averaging a team-high 19.2 points per game this season.
In Wednesday’s game, he had eight of Fullerton’s 18 points in the first half. Although he was the leading scorer for Fullerton, Coleman was benched midway through the first half after missing his first six shots.
Copper Mountain guard Anthony Rice scored 17 points, making six out of seven of his free throw attempts but the Hornets got back in front with 16:40 left in the game and wouldn’t relinquish the lead.
“We just stuck together and we knew that we couldn’t help and make shots because the first half was so terrible. We played together and made the right plays,” Coleman said.
The Hornets made nine 3-pointers in the second half, with five of them coming from Moore.
“Fullerton College isn’t excited for second place finishes, we want to go win the whole thing,” Webster said.
The Hornets will close out the season against Saddleback College on Feb. 22.