McClain's Jumper Clinches Outright PCAC South Championship
Not only did Darien McClain's jumper with 1.2 seconds remaining give the Knights a thrilling 71-69 home victory over Southwestern on Friday night, but it also clinched a second consecutive outright PCAC South championship and the sixth under Head Coach Mitch Charlens.
It was their 10th straight win, which is a new school record, and their 16th consecutive PCAC South victory. The Knights are now 24-5 overall and 8-0 in the conference.
Their last PCAC loss came on February 20, 2015 at Southwestern.
The Knights had trouble getting their offense going in the first half and fell behind, 26-23, but they rattled off 10 straight points to gain a 33-26 lead and eventually went into the locker room at halftime with a 37-29 lead.
City went up by 11 points early in the second half and it seemed as though they would stay in control of the game, but Southwestern fought back with a 19-6 run to take a 62-58 lead with 5:48 left.
With the game tied at 66-66, City's Wonder Smith drove the lane and was fouled while making a layup with 39 seconds remaining. He completed the 3-point play, but Southwestern's Richard Grove responded on the other end with a game-tying 3-pointer from the top of the arc.
McClain then waited until there was five seconds on the clock to make his move. He dribbled from the left side of the court and used a screen to free himself for a jumper on the right side that fell through the net with 1.2 seconds left.
The Jaguars had one last chance, but their inbound pass sailed out of bounds and the Knights escaped with the win.
This is the first time in school history that the Knights have repeated as conference champions. If they win their final two PCAC games on the road at Imperial Valley on February 15 and at Mesa on February 17, the Knights will finish with an undefeated PCAC record for the second time in as many years and the third time in the last four years.
Since Charlens took over in 2004, the Knights have won conference titles in 2005, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2017.Box Score