CYPRESS, CA- Cypress men's basketball (8-5, 1-0 OEC) edged past the Riverside Tigers (7-5, 0-1 OEC) for first conference win and seventh consecutive victory, 66-61.
The home team jumped out to an early 5-0 lead with little response from the Tigers. However, midway through the first half it was knotted up 11-11. Riverside took the lead but Cypress managed to go punch for punch against the visiting squad. The Chargers separated themselves by four points and went into the half up, 30-26.
Physical play continued into the final half as Cypress held a consistent lead. Grant Sii grew a hot hand to help the Chargers stay on top and extend the home team's lead by double digits. Riverside crept back within three points before three minutes of scoreless play on both sides. The Tigers went on top with 1:39 left in regulation, 61-60, before a called timeout.
Cypress regained the lead off of two made free throws from Hadi Essayli. In the final five minutes, Essayli accumulated four rebounds to help the Chargers maintain possession and six points from the free throw line. With one second on the clock, Grant Sii nailed two free throws to take a five point lead and finish off the win.
Grant Sii led the team in scoring with his 19 points and tallied four rebounds and three assists. Second in points was Mark Onyejekwe with 17 points along with five rebounds and two assists. Essayli's late game effort proved to be key in the Chargers successful win as he contributed 16 points, seven rebounds and two steals.
Cypress's win streak improves to seven straight as the team earns their first OEC win. Being each team's first conference appearance, the close game became heated on all sides of the ball. These two teams will see eachother in one month on January 23rd for the rematch in Riverside.
UP NEXT: Cypress will host Orange Coast for their second conference game on December 22nd. Start time will be 5PM.
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