The MSJC men's basketball team made four free throws in the final 1.7 seconds Wednesday night to beat visiting LA Harbor College 66-63. The win advanced the Eagles to the Elite Eight of the State Tournament for the first time since 1999.
With the Eagles trailing by one and 9 seconds remaining, Darren May drove the ball down the floor and passed it to Eric Lawton who was fouled as he tried to take the ball to the basket. Lawton's two free throws with 1.7 seconds gave MSJC the lead 64-63. Harbor turned the ball over on the in bounds pass and Dakota Downs was fouled and added two more free throws for the final points of the game.
MSJC jumped out of the gates taking a 9-0 lead, before Harbor answered with a 15-2 run of their own to retake the lead. The Eagles settled in midway through the first half and built the lead to 34-22 at the break. Harbor again made a run to start the second half scoring the first 8 points of the second. MSJC was able to hold onto the lead through the entire second half until Harbor took the lead with 9 seconds remaining.
The Eagles used a balanced scoring attack on the night led by Bucky Chenault who had 11 points. Dakota Downs and Kris Brooks added 10 each in the victory. Brooks also pulled down a game high 10 rebounds. The win improved the Eagles season record to 22-8, while Harbor finishes the season at 17-13. MSJC will now face Saddleback College on Saturday in Mission Viejo in the state quarter-finals. Game time Saturday is set for 7 pm. You can hear Saturday's game on the Eagle Radio Network at msjc.edu or locally on AM 1620.
Kris Brooks looks to score Wednesday night, as the MSJC men's basketball team defeated LA Harbor College 66-63 to advance to the Elite Eight of the California Community College Basketball Tournament. (DeeAnn Bradley/MSJC)