Code Red: Owls tossed out of tournament

The Code Red section of the Mt. San Jacinto crowd reacts loudly to what they believed to be an unfair call by the officials. (Jessica Soto/Clarion)

By Dillon Cooper | Managing Editor

The Owls went to Code Red March 5, 2014.

Code Red is used to warn about a serious danger or threat.

Code Red is also the name of the cheering section at Mt. San Jacinto College home games and is conveniently placed right behind the visitors bench.

It’s a program located in Perris, Calif. It is Christian-based and helps recovering alcoholics and drug addicts.

The Owls traveled to Mt. San Jacinto College on March 5, 2014 and were disposed of by the Eagles, losing 61-92.

“We just got out-played, we weren’t focused,” said Owls guard Dominique Walker.  “They capitalized on everything.  We turned the ball over a lot, which turned into easy transition baskets.”

In front of a packed crowd with Code Red in full effect, the Eagles were able to keep the tempo high, just the way they like it.

“They bring us energy, and they never stop screaming no matter what,” said Eagles’ guard Dwayne Benjamin.  “If the game is close or if the game is far, no matter what, they give us a lot of energy.”

The Eagles dominated the offensive glass with 16 offensive rebounds.  11 Eagles pitched in with an offensive rebound, giving them 18 second-chance points.

The Owls only had 4 second-chance points.

The Owls were out rebounded 50 to 23, the second consecutive game in which they had been out rebounded by 20 or more.

“That was the story to the whole game,” said Owls head coach Chris Victor.  “In the first half when we were keeping it close, they were still getting a lot of offensive rebounds.”

The Owls went into the half trailing 29-38 and would cut the lead to seven early in the second half.

Then the Eagles went on a tear.

In the second half, the Eagles shot 53.1 percent from the field, were 16-20 from free throws and went 4-7 from beyond the arc.

The Owls’ defense was nonexistent in the second half, allowing the Eagles to outscore Citrus 54-32.

Benjamin scored 19 points in the second half, penetrating at will and finishing with finesse at the rim.

“They were trying to front the post and being really aggressive trying to deny the ball,” Benjamin said.  “We started back cutting, using that aggressiveness against them.”

Benjamin finished with 29 points in 29 minutes.

“I wish he would have rebounded a little bit better,” joked Eagles’ head coach Patrick Springer.

Springer and Bejamin emphasized their teams depth.  No one on the Eagles logged more than 29 minutes, with all 15 players getting time on the court.

“Coach Springer subs a lot, and it’s been working for us,” Benjamin said.  “Everybody comes in and contributes.”

With the loss, the Owls finished their season with a record of 16-9, 8-4.

With the win, the #3 seeded Eagles will travel to #2 seeded San Bernardino to play in the Final Four of the California Community College Athletic Association’s Southern California Regionals on March 8. The winner moves on to the State Final Four to be played at Cerritos College on March15-16.