The Southern California College men’s basketball team survived a flurry of Biola shots in the last 30 seconds and held on to win, 65-63, Saturday night in Costa Mesa.
The game was the only regular-season matchup between Biola and SCC, two of the top three Southern California National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics teams. And it was played with all the intensity of a postseason game in front of about 900 in “The Pit,” SCC’s gym where the Vanguards have lost only once in the past three seasons.
SCC (9-2) took a 65-61 lead with 2 minutes 18 seconds remaining on two free throws by Jason Quinn, a freshman guard from Mater Dei, but Biola put together a rally.
Rodney Camper, Biola’s 6-6 power forward, missed two free throws with 2:07 left, and Jeff Baker, a 6-9 forward, had a shot blocked by SCC’s Jeff Bickmore with about a minute to go before Camper made the score 65-63 on a short shot with 48 seconds remaining.
SCC broke Biola’s press but Bryan Moore missed a short jumper with about 30 seconds remaining to give Biola a final chance to tie the score.
Biola took four contested shots, none of which came close. Kellie McKinney opened with a jumper from inside the three-point line, Camper rebounded and put up another errant shot that Dave Hardin rebounded and passed to Baker. Baker’s attempt was blocked by Bickmore into the hands of Mike Coffin, whose finger-roll layup missed before time ran out.
“It was wild,” SCC Coach Bill Reynolds said. “We played harder than we have all year and that’s what we need to do against physical teams like Biola.”
Bickmore had 22 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots for the Vanguards, who led, 37-27, at the half on the strength of its aggressive man-to-man defense. SCC was especially effective when it extended the defense full court.
Biola, which had a size advantage over SCC, will next play in the Grand Canyon College tournament Dec. 28 when 6-10 center Emilio Kovacic, a Yugoslav who started three games at Arizona State last season, becomes eligible.