LIVERMORE, Calif. – San Diego City College overcame a 15-point second-half deficit to upset defending state champion City College of San Francisco, 79-77, in the semifinals of the California Community College men's basketball tournament Saturday at Las Positas College.
The Knights took a 73-71 lead Saturday on a 3-point basket by Wonder Smith with 2:05 remaining and extended it to 75-71 on a Smith layup with 26 seconds left. But it wasn't quite over yet.
CCSF scoring leader Zach Copeland made a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left to make it a 1-point game and the exchange continued to the end. Two San Diego free throws by Darien McClain made it 77-74 with 17 seconds remaining. Curtis Witt sank a San Francisco layup with six seconds left and it was a 1-point game again. The Rams immediately fouled McLain, who again sank both charity attempts -- for a 79-76 advantage and the Knights' final points.
San Diego fouled Michael Wright with 1.3 seconds on the clock to prevent a 3-point attempt by the Rams. Wright made the first free throw and missed the second – but the Rams could not control the ball for the potential tying shot before the final buzzer.
Smith, a 6-foot-2 freshman guard out of Windward High School (Los Angeles) had 17 points and four steals for the Knights. Robert McCoy had 14 points, six rebounds and four steals.
Copeland had 28 points and seven rebounds for Coast North Conference champion CCSF. He led the Rams to a 41-31 halftime advantage, which they quickly extended to 15 points at 46-31 in the first 40 seconds after the intermission on a putback by Kendall McIntosh and a three by Copeland.
Then Darien McClain and McCoy mounted the comeback. McLain had 15 points for the Pacific Coast South Conference champions.
This will be San Diego's second appearance in the state championship game. The Knights lost to Fresno City College, 76-69, in the 1963 finals.
San Diego was ranked No. 10 and Fullerton No. 2 in the final regular season state poll.
(Compiled by Fred Baer, College of San Mateo sports information director)