After more than three weeks without a victory, the College of the Canyons men’s basketball team finally snapped out of the doldrums Saturday night.
The Cougars used a strong inside game to defeat Valley, 95-81, in a Western State Conference South Division game at Canyons. The victory snapped a five-game losing streak for Canyons (7-15, 1-1 in conference play).
“Our offense executed well,” Canyons Coach Lee Smelser said. “We extended them out (on the court) and were able to break behind them for some easy baskets.”
One of the key players for Canyons under both boards was 6-foot-5 freshman forward Kwesi’ Fulton, who scored 25 points and had 10 rebounds. Seven of his 10 baskets came on layups or offensive rebounds.
Fulton had outside help from forward Randy Eason, who scored 20 points, including three three-point baskets.
“They exploited some of our weaknesses on defense,” Valley Coach Doug Michelson said. “We had poor reads on a couple of pick and rolls. A couple of players lost vision a couple of times and gave up layups.”
Valley (9-14, 1-2) opened the game with baskets by forwards Darius Moses and Kenyth Henry to take a 4-0 edge but never led again in the first half. The Monarchs trailed at the half, 43-40.
But Valley, behind guard Craig Griffin (28 points) rallied to tie the score, 58-58, with 11 minutes 40 seconds to play. Griffin scored 14 points in each half.
A three-point basket by Henry from the corner put Valley ahead, 64-63, with 9:40 remaining but Canyons assumed control thereafter.
The Cougars went on a 12-2 run that gave them an 84-75 advantage with 2:19 to play.
“We had our flat spot right before the half but we started executing our offense in the second half,” Smelser said.