Despite 26 points from sophomore Marcellus Garrick for the third straight game, the Allan Hancock College men's basketball dropped a 77-73 conference battle with Central Coast rival Cuesta College Wednesday evening in Joe White Memorial Gymnasium.
The Bulldogs led 73-72 with less than a minute to play after Garrick buried two free throws. However, the Cougars outscored the Bulldogs 5-0 the rest of the way to split the season series with Hancock.
The Bulldogs fell to 3-6 in Western State Conference play and 13-16 overall. Cuesta continued its hopes for a share of the conference title to improve to 6-3 in league and 13-14 overall. The Cougars trail first place Ventura by one game with one game to play on Saturday. Ventura defeated Oxnard 90-76 Wednesday to clinch at least a share of the title for the second straight year.
Garrick led all scorers with a 9-for-15 effort from the field, and 4-for-7 clip from 3-point range. He also was a perfect 4-for-4 from the line and pulled down six rebounds.
Whiteside made 7-of-12 from the field to finish with 14 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Lord finished with 13 points and eight rebounds, seven of his boards were on the offensive end. Lord went 6-for-13 from the field.
Hancock shot 51 percent overall by hitting 30-of-59 from the floor. Hancock went 6-for-15 from 3-point range, and 7-for-10 from the line. They assisted on 20 of their 30 buckets.
Cuesta shot 46 percent overall, including an 11-for-26 performance from 3-point range. The Cougars made 12 of 13 free throw-attempts. Karem Ozel led the Cougars with 22 points and 10 assists. Andres Aguado added 18 points and six rebounds.
Hancock trailed the entire first half, and fell behind 31-20 with 6:25 to play after Aguado buried a 3-pointer. Hancock closed out the half on an 11-5 run to trail 36-31 at intermission. In the second half, the Bulldogs fell behind 43-37 three minutes in when they went on a 12-3 run behind five points from Lord, four from Garrick and a 3-pointer by Willett. The two teams stayed within a few points the rest of the way, as Hancock led 71-67 with under three minutes to play on a bucket from Whiteside. However, five free throws from Ozel down the stretch combined with a Hancock turnover and a few missed shots resulted in a Cuesta victory.
The Bulldogs will finish the season Saturday at 1 p.m. at Oxnard. The Bulldogs defeated the Condors 73-62 last month behind 23 points from Garrick, 14 points and 13 rebounds from Kinnebrew, and a 19-point effort from Lord.