In his first game back from a broken left wrist, City College of San Francisco guard Austin McCullough scored 17 points, and made four threes, guiding the Rams to a 94-65 victory over Las Positas College on Friday.
The win was a much needed bounce back for the Rams, who were losing their game against Foothill College 39-33 on Feb. 13, but didn’t get the chance to finish the game because of a leak in the gym roof, delaying the rest of the game until Monday Feb. 18.
McCullough made a three within the first minute of the game, and helped set the pace for the Rams. City College led the entire game, and had one of its best team games of the season, playing efficient at both ends of the court. They made a conscious effort to pass the ball more, and it paid off.
“I thought they played unselfish, we had a really good practice yesterday,” Rams head coach Justin Labagh said. “When we play unselfish, this is what happens. Making the extra pass is something we’ve tried to do all year long, but some of these games where we played selfish it is hard to fix that.”
By making the extra pass, the Rams opened up the lane for their big men to score, allowing them to get easy buckets down low.
“We really wanted to get the ball to the post and I thought we did that,” Labagh said.
City College cruised through the first half, and were up 51-28 at the break, but lost some of their momentum in the second half when the offense slowed down.
“We became disinterested at the end, but overall I was happy,” Labagh said. “I thought we did pretty good on defense, but we didn’t box out that well. They got a lot of offensive rebounds, but we will work on that.”
Still, the Rams had some exciting plays during the second half. Freshman forward Walter Urbina began the half off with a monster alley oop dunk. Urbina started in the left corner and cut towards the basket, and got the attention of McCullough, who had the ball at the top left behind the arc. McCullough lobbed the ball to Urbina while he was jumping, and he caught it with both hands above his head and drove home a dunk, spurring the crowd.
Urbina would show off his hops again later in the half when he rejected a Las Positas player’s shot in a humiliating fashion.
After missing nearly two months of play, McCullough, a Cal transfer like CCSF teammate Deschon Winston, came ready to play, and put himself in position outside the arc to hit big shots.
“It was great to get back out there and run around, and just shoot the ball. I’ve been kind of impatient on the bench, watching these guys play,” McCullough said. “It was pretty easy to get back in the rhythm for this one, we were sharing the ball, they knew where my spots were and were helping me get my shots.”
“Austin is the best shooter in the state,” Justin Labagh said. “We expect this from him.”
McCullough’s 17 points led the team, with Winston and sophomore forward Austin Harris each adding 15. Harris had an effective night, hitting two big threes during the first half.
Harris also provided the perfect example of making the extra pass. During the second half, Harris had an opportunity to take an open three but instead made the extra pass freshman forward Jason Ricketts, who was even more open. The unselfish move paid off with Ricketts drilling the wide-open three.
The Rams must now focus on winning the game against Foothill. City College finds itself in a position it has rarely been in all season: not being in the lead. If they end of loosing that game, it would be their second loss of the season.
“They brought it to us. We’ve always been the aggressor all year, every single game, and we rolled into Foothill and they really brought it to us,” McCullough said. “We talked afterword and said that we need to be the aggressor for the rest of the year. Tonight we really came together and got it done, and on Monday we need to that again.”
With the win, the Rams improved to 25-1. They will finish their game against Foothill on Monday Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. and after that have two more games, against Chabot and Ohlone College, left in the regular season before the playoffs begin, where the Rams will be a top seed.