Pirates fight hard, but fall late to Moorpark

Photo courtesy of Steven Guersch
Photo courtesy of Steven Guersch

COSTA MESA -- The Orange Coast College men's basketball team overcame an early 20-point deficit, but a late rally by Moorpark doomed the Pirates in an 88-84 loss on Wednesday night inside the Peterson Gym.

After a ragged opening 12 minutes that saw the Pirates down 30-10, the Pirates (1-3) continued to get their shots and finally, the shots began to fall as they closed out the first half with a 28-11 run and trailed 41-38 at the break.

Six minutes into the second half, the Pirates grabbed their first lead of the game since 2-0 when Aundrel Pua's lay-up gave OCC a 52-50 lead. 

From there, both teams went back and forth as the lead changed hands 10 different times for the remainder of the game. 

Trailing by one with 37 seconds left, OCC's Myles Woods poked the ball out of the hands of Moorpark guard Mason Johnson and went in uncontested for a slam dunk, putting the Pirates up 82-81. But on the next possession, Johnson redeemed himself as he drove the lane and found an open Tim Andreolli beyond the arc for a 3-pointer, putting Moorpark (4-2) up, 84-82 with 25 seconds left. 

Coast had a good look at a potential game-winning 3-pointer by Jonathan Ileleji, but the ball banged off the rim and into the arms of Najeem Nawabi, who was fouled with eight seconds left. OCC was then charged with a technical foul, giving Nawabi four free throws and the sophomore guard made all four of them, putting the Raiders' lead out of reach.

Woods led the Pirates with 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals for OCC, while Andres Ortega and Chase Nomaaea each added 15 points. Pua came off the bench and notched a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. 

For the Raiders, Johnson led the way with 27 points and nine rebounds, while Nawabi added 21.

Coast will return to the Peterson Gym on Friday, Nov. 22 against MiraCosta, beginning at 6 p.m.