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Citrus holds on to defeat Mt. SAC Men’s Basketball, 78-71, in non-conference game to open season

(Walnut, CA) The 2022 Mt. SAC Men's Basketball season opened with a date with the CCCAA State Pre-season No. 3 team from the South Region, Citrus College on Wednesday (Nov. 2).

The Mounties held their own most of the way, falling behind by as much as 16 points at one point, but crawled back into the game late in the second half, only to fall, 78-71.

"Citrus is an excellent team," Mt. SAC second-year coach Michael Fenison said. "They made us turn the ball over way too much. I tip my hat off to them.

"The team did well and they played hard and scrapped and competed. All we want to do is compete. We got to get better."

Mt. SAC was led by freshman guard Nick Hopkins (3-3 FGM-A, 13-17 FTM-A, 7 RB, 3 Stl) with a team-high 19 points, while sophomore guard Noah Laurie (7-12 FGM-A) added 15 points.

"We for sure hung in there and just got to work defensively more and communicate," Hopkins said. "It's our first game with a lot of new players. As long as we do what we have to do we will be all right.

"Coach was just telling us don't give up and keep playing hard. "

Sophomore guard Jay Milner (4-9 FGM-A, 2-2 FTM-A, 2 RB) and freshman guard Mikah Gardner (2-2 FTM-A, 4 RB) scored 10 points each. Two players added six points each – LJ McClain (3-3 FGM) and Matthew Brown (3-5 FGM-A, 5 RB).

Trailing by 10 points, 28-18, just under the halfway mark of the first half, the Mounties outscored Citrus, 8-0, with layups by Hopkins and Milner, a short jump shot by McClain and two free throws by Hopkins, to trail by a basket, 28-26, with 4:40 left in the half.

In the last 41 seconds of the half, the Owls scored five points on a layup and a 3-pointer to stretch the lead to 43-34 at the break.

In the second half, trailing by 12 points, 70-58, with 7:29 left, the Mounties came within six points, 75-69, with 2:01 left in the game.

That was as close as they got in the last two minutes.

Next weekend, the Mounties will host the annual Gene Victor Memorial Classic with their opening game against Grossmont on Thursday (Nov. 10.)

Follow Mt. SAC Men's Basketball on Twitter @MtSAC_MBKB

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For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.