Pirates travel to Citrus for next round of basketball playoffs

Pirates travel to Citrus for next round of basketball playoffs

COSTA MESA -- The Orange Coast College men's basketball team will travel to Glendora to take on host Citrus College on Saturday night, beginning at 7 p.m. in the third round of the Southern California Regional playoffs.

The sixth-seeded Pirates (21-7), winners of 12 straight and 19-of-21 heading into Saturday's matchup, has been the talk of the state and with a win against the third-seeded Owls (27-4), Coast will advance to the quarterfinals of the California Community College Athletic Association Men's Basketball State Championship for the first time since winning the state title back in 1979.

Thanks to last week's 84-81 comeback win over Mt. San Jacinto, the Pirates' incredible run continues for yet another week. After finishing last year 8-19 overall and 1-11 in the Orange Empire Conference, the Pirates came out of nowhere to go 11-1 in conference and capture their first men's basketball conference championship since 1979.

Against the Eagles, Coast was led by the trio of Kupaa Harrison (23 points, five rebounds, seven assists), Joshua Davis (23 points, nine rebounds) and Lloyd Wright (22 points, four rebounds), but if the Pirates expect to stun the host Owls on Saturday night, they will need more support on both sides of the floor from the rest of the squad. 

For the Owls, champions of the Western State Conference's Eastern Division, they have won 24 of their past 26 games and enter Saturday's matchup off the heels of a dominating 99-72 win over Miramar College in the second round of the playoffs.

Against the Jets, Citrus jumped out to an early lead and never lost it the rest of the night. Sophomore Jeremy Smith led the Owls with 30 points, seven rebounds and six assists, while three of Citrus' reserve players -- Miles Crawford, Jesse Elrod and Austin Clarke -- combined for 34 of the Owls' 39 points off of the bench.

In all, Citrus was deadly from downtown, hitting 17-of-30 from 3-point range. In fact, for the season, the Owls have hit a state-best 374 treys in 31 games, averaging 12 made 3-pointers per game. 

Smith, who is ninth in the state in scoring (21.5 ppg), has a talented and deep supporting cast, including sophomore guard Miles Crawford (11.4 ppg), freshman Austin Clarke (11.1 ppg) and sophomore Kyle Gray (11 ppg, 6.8 rebounds per game).

The winner of Saturday's matchup will advance to the state quarterfinals, which will be hosted by Ventura College, beginning on Friday, March 9.


Parking is free at Citrus College in parking lot "S8", located by the gymnasium.


ADMISSION: $12 for Adults ... $8 for students, seniors 65+ and children under 12.

Mandated CCCAA rules -- no passes will be accepted.

CAMPUS MAP ... Click HERE  -- Parking lot S8 is located off of Barranca Ave.