Story by Cal State San Marcos Sports Information
COSTA MESA, Calif. – Jason Johnson's layup with five seconds remaining lifted the No. 1 Cal State San Marcos men's basketball team to an 82-80 victory over No. 10 Vanguard (Calif.) in the NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Game of the Week on Thursday night at The Pit.
A 3-pointer from De'End Parker gave the Cougars an 80-77 lead with 1:15 remaining. Both teams came up empty on their next possessions, but Preston Wynne was able to convert a layup from the right side and drawl a foul. Wynne's free throw tied the game 80-80 with 15.8 left.
Out of a timeout, the Cougars inbounded to Johnson in the backcourt. He slowly dribbled across midcourt before driving across the arc into the left side of the lane. He pump-faked to get his first defender to jump aside before moving the ball to his right hand to avoid another defender.
He flipped it off the glass to give the Cougars a two-point lead with moments remaining. VU came back and tried a desperation shot, but it was well short.
CSUSM finishes the year at 28-1 overall. The Cougars end the year on a 19-game winning streak. They have one more contest remaining before the Association of Independent Institutions Conference Tournament, an exhibition on Saturday night at MiraCosta College against St. Katherine.
VU drops to 23-6 overall.
Malcolm Lemmons led the Cougars with 23 points, while Parker added 18. Quincy Lawson pitched in with 12 and Bobby Macias had 11. The Cougars shot 71.4 percent in the second half and were 3-of-7 from 3-point range.
The Cougars trailed by as many as 19 in the first frame, but closed to 10 at the break before 10-3 run in the second half gave CSUSM a 54-53 lead with 12:03 remaining. Lemmons capped off the run with a 3-pointer from the left side; it was the Cougars' first lead since the 15:56 mark of the first half.
VU quickly grabbed back a three-point lead, but Macias found Tyree Murray on the break for a 3-pointer than made it 57-57.
CSUSM looked as though it might pull away, as Macias converted an old-fashioned three-point play before adding another left handed layup. Lawson then took his man one-on-one and converted a clever turnaround that made it 66-58 at the 7:29 mark.
The Lions answered with a 10-3 run of their own and finally caught the Cougars on Wynne's 3-pointer from the top of the key. A pair of free throws by Deangelo Jones gave VU a 77-75 edge at the 1:54 mark.
However, Lawson found Lemmons on a back door cut to tie the game back up.
Wynne heat-checked a deep 3-pointer from the right side, but it resulted in a long rebound that fell to Macias. The speedy guard started the odd-man break before kicking it to Parker on the right side of the arc. All alone, he drained the 3-pointer to make it 80-77.
Out of a Lion timeout, Jones attempted to find a player in the corner with a cross-court pass under the basket. Lemmons picked it off and the Cougars immediately took a timeout with 44 seconds remaining.
CSUSM dripped some time off the clock before finding Lawson at the high post. The forward could not find a player to dish it to, and the Lions eventually picked his pocket in the corner.
Wynne drove hard to his right and made a double-clutch layup while getting fouled by Lemmons. His free throw was true to make it 80-80.
Head coach Jim Saia called a timeout to set up one final shot. Johnson took a lobbed inbound pass before taking it all himself.
VU jumped out to a 29-10 lead with 7:14 remaining in the first half with a 22-3 run over an 8:23 span.
Wynne led all scorers with 29 points. Keith Mason added 14 and Chris Gorman tallied 12.
The Cougars finish the 2013-14 regular season 4-0 against ranked teams.