GLENDALE — Things got a lot tougher for the members of the Glendale Community College men's basketball team in their bid to win the Western State Conference's South Division title.
With a chance to climb near the top of the division, the Vaqueros instead had a call go against them in the waning seconds of their key division contest against host Citrus College on Wednesday night.
Citrus made the second of two free throws with two seconds remaining to hand the Vaqueros a 76-75 defeat.
Glendale, which came into the game in third place, dropped to 16-9, 5-4 in the division. Citrus, which won the division championship last season, improved to 21-5, 7-3. Santa Monica City College entered Wednesday's contest against College of the Canyons in first place at 16-7, 6-2. Canyons came in 13-11, 5-3 and in fourth place.
"We drove to the basket with two seconds left and we thought we were fouled," Glendale Coach Brian Beauchemin said. "Then there's a melee for the ball and they call a foul on us and that's pretty tough.
"They are the circumstances that happened and it's disappointing. It was a pretty tough game that went back and forth."
Glendale and Citrus split the two-game season series. The Vaqueros posted a 72-70 home victory Jan. 15. Six of Glendale's nine division games have been decided by four points or less with the Vaqueros going 4-2 in those contests.
Glendale received a team-high 21 points from freshman guard Nate Bryant and 15 from sophomore forward Demetrius Perkins. Nikolas Rhodes registered 12 points for the Vaqueros, who lost their second game in a row and fell to 2-4 in their last six games.
Citrus, which held a 37-34 halftime advantage, tied the game at 75 on a three-pointer with 30 seconds remaining. Citrus shot 24 free throws, compared to five by Glendale.
Glendale will next compete in a division home game at 5 p.m. Saturday against West L.A.. The Vaqueros suffered a 73-62 loss in the first meeting Jan. 19 at West L.A.
"Saturday night will be it," Beauchemin said. "That's going to be the big game for us."