Glendora, CA - The Citrus College Men's Basketball team kept pace in the WSC South on Wednesday night with a 68-61 slugfest win over visiting Bakersfield College. The Owls were tested every step of the way, but got a big game from sophomore Howie Lin who scored a career high 11 points in just 11 minutes of action, adding a rebound, assist, and steal.
Wednesday night's contest wasn't the usual offensive showcase for the Owls. Citrus and Bakersfield combined for just 20 points in the first 10 minutes of the contest, with Bakersfield taking an 11-9 lead with 10:24 left in the first. Citrus would pull back in front after sophomore Tobin Kund hit a technical free-throw, and Lin hit all three of his shots from the charity stripe after getting fouled on a triple attempt.
Citrus would extend their lead to seven points after a triple by Lin, but Citrus went cold shortly thereafter. Bakersfield would briefly regain the lead with just over two minutes to go, but a three-point play by sophomore Kendal Frey and a three-pointer by freshman Leonard Turner with 25 seconds left, put Citrus back on top 28-25 at the half.
In the second, Bakersfield would take their largest lead of the night, when a layup with 15:21 to go made it 35-31 in their favor. That sparked a stretch where the game would see one tie and three lead changes over the span of four minutes. Citrus eventually wrestled the lead back on a three-ball by freshman Jamal Frenchwood, and the Owls held the Renegades at bay for the rest of the game.
Just because, Citrus never gave up the lead however, doesn't mean Bakersfield didn't make them sweat. Citrus' lead didn't really reach double-digits till the final minute, when a pair of free-throws by Frey made it 64-53. Two straight turnovers by the Owls and three straight buckets by Bakersfield would pull the Renegades to within three points with 16 seconds to go, but a defensive rebound off a free-throw coupled with a pair of good shots from the free-throw line by sophomore James Williams would help ice the game for Citrus.
In the win, Frey led all Owls with a team high 17 points, adding six rebounds and a pair of assists. Sophomore Tyree Winborn had 13 off the bench, with Lin being the only other Owl in double-figures. Sophomore Alex Cartwright reeled in a team high eight boards, while sophomore Toby Okwuokei shook off a tough shooting night, to grab five boards, and hand out a team best five assists.
With the win, Citrus improves to 15-8 overall and 7-2 in WSC South play. The Owls will travel to Culver City on Saturday to take on the State's 18th ranked Wildcats(17-6, 6-3) at 3:00 PM.