It wasn't pretty, but El Camino College will take its 84-62 South Coast Conference victory over Golden West College in Huntington Beach.
The Warriors, ranked second in the state, hit poorly from the free-throw line and committed numerous turnovers but managed to get by the pesky Rustlers in a physical contest that sometimes bordered on sloppy.
The Warriors, who hit just 10 of 19 free-throw tries, relied on their floor game to win. El Camino, which used four three-point shots in the first half to keep the Rustlers at bay, opened the game by hitting 12 of 15 field-goal attempts.
El Camino, 3-0 in the conference and 19-1 overall, ran its win streak to nine games. Golden West (10-9 overall) lost for the third consecutive time in conference play.
On paper, at least, this didn't seem like much of a match-up. And for most of the first half El Camino played like all it had to do to win was show up. Golden West took advantage of that attitude and clawed back from a nine-point deficit to trail by only two points after the first 20 minutes. El Camino made just one field goal in the final four minutes of the first period.
The Rustlers tied the score three times to open the second half, then El Camino woke up. With the scored tied at 44, the Warriors went on a 30-8 scoring spree and eventually built a 23-point lead.
Golden West, unable to survive in a transition game that the Warriors forced, made just five field goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half.
Charles White (20), Kirkland Howland (15), Dave Lee (12) and Erik Dunn (11) led the Warriors.