Corsairs pull off thrilling win

There was just one problem for the Citrus College Owls; Corsair's forward, David Nwaba.

The Santa Monica College men's basketball team had given up an eight point lead, and were clutching onto a two point lead after Owl's star Steven Thornton Jr. stole the ball at half court and soared in for a layup.

With the game hanging in the balance, Nwaba attacked the rim, getting fouled and converting on one of two free throws. His defense on the other end forced Citrus into a bad shot and allowed him to leap out on the break, icing the game with a rim rocking, two-handed slam dunk, as the Corsairs held on for a 73-68 lead.

Nwaba, the clear standout on both sides, finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, five steals and two blocks. There was little he couldn't do. In the absence of both of SMC's centers, he was even assigned the task of defending the paint.

With the game's final outcome still in doubt, he was also asked to play the entire second half.

“I’m usually in the whole game," said Nwaba. "Having only 2 fouls throughout the second half, I knew I could be more aggressive.”

With this victory, the Corsairs improved to 14-7, and 6-3 in conference. They now find themselves primed for a high seed in the upcoming Western State South Conference Tournament.

According to head coach Jerome Jenkins, this season has been a very impressive showing, considering the Corsairs entire roster is made up of freshman.

“Everyone on our team has the green light," said Jenkins. "Nwaba’s our Lebron James, but everyone on our team has the green light.”

The completely new roster says a lot for Jenkins’ ability to put a winning team together on the floor. Two years ago, he coached the SMC men's basketball team to the conference championship.

He admitted, though, that having a player like David Nwaba does not hurt.

“I don’t take him out," said Jenkins. "He could have played all 40 minutes if not for foul trouble.”

With the kind of chemistry the team has been playing with recently on the court, and with Nwaba's leadership combined with Jenkins' guidance, the Corsairs have high hopes of possibly hoisting another conference championship banner by season's end.

They will take their aspirations out on the road for the conference tournament beginning Thursday, Feb. 21 at College of the Canyons.