Riverside hosts Santa Monica in battle of two Southern California teams

7th seeded Riverside (20-9) will host 15th seeded Santa Monica (19-11) for a place in Ventura on Saturday. Riverside comes into the contest with their confidence high after blowing out 10th seeded Mt. San Jacinto 77-58 on Friday evening to advance to the sweet 16. The Tigers led by one at the break but outscored Mt. San Jacinto by 18 points in the 2nd half to cruise into the next round. Otto Taylor made five three pointers and scored 21 points to lead the Tigers in scoring. C.J. Clark added 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists and Franky McQuay scored 16 points and added 5 rebounds in the victory for the Tigers.

Meanwhile, Santa Monica comes into the game playing their third game in the post season. The Corsairs picked up a huge come from behind victory against San Diego at home in the first round and followed that up with an upset road win over East Los Angeles 63-60 on Saturday night to move into the sweet 16. Santa Monica is the lowest seed left in the tournament but the Corsairs have won 19 games this season and have made a big turn around from a year ago. Against East Los Angeles, Santa Monica trailed by four at the break went up by as many as eight points in the 2nd half and held off the Huskies picking up a 63-60 win. Chastin Mouton scored a season high of 15 points in the win. It was the second time the whole season that the freshman from Houston scored in double figures. Kyle Young provided a double double for the Corsairs in the win.

Riverside (20-9): The Tigers come into the contest winners of 20 games this season and a fourth place finish in the Orange Empire Conference. The Tigers are led in scoring by sophomore C.J. Clark as the guard is averaging 16.3 points, 4.1 assists and 4.0 rebounds per contest. Clark has shot 38% from downtown and has made 73 three pointers on the season. Clark scored a season high of 38 points against Copper Mountain and last game Clark scored 18 points against Mt. San Jacinto. Otto Taylor has played well for the Tigers this season as the sophomore is averaging 14.2 points and 3.3 rebounds. Taylor has shot 43% from downtown and made 76 three pointers. Tyree Winborn (10.9 points), Franky McQuay (8.4 points and 6.9 rebounds) and Cam’Ron Wilson (7.6 points) are three other players that have contributed this season for the Tigers. Riverside comes into the game averaging 77.9 points per game and the Tigers give up 73 per contest. If the game is close towards the end, the Tigers are a very solid free throw shooting team as Riverside is 13th in the state in free throw percentage at 73%.

Santa Monica (19-11): The Corsairs come into the contest winners of 19 games and a second place finish in the Western State South Conference. What a turn around it has been this season for the Corsairs after winning three games last season. Marcus Harris leads a balanced attack for the Corsairs as the sophomore is averaging 11.2 points per game while averaging 6.2 rebounds. Teddy Parham is the other player that is averaging in double figrues as the freshman guard averages 10.0 points and 3.5 assists this season. LeAndrew Knight (9.7 points), Kyle Young (9.8 points and 7.6 rebounds), Jordan Wilson (8.2 points), and Daisone Hughes (8.0 points) will all look to contribute at the offensive end against Riverside. Santa Monica averages 77.3 points and the Corsairs give up 73.6 points per contest. Santa Monica strives on the boards, as the Corsairs average 13.6 offensive rebounds per game which is 8th best in the state. Santa Monica is 10th in the state in rebounding margin this season. The Corsairs will need to take care of the ball better as Santa Monica averages 17.3 turnovers per contest and Santa Monica has struggled from downtown this season as they are 87th in the state in three pointers made and 88th in three point field goal percentage (30%).