SRJC men’s basketball: Bear Cubs need OT to topple Merritt 86-76

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Matthew Hayes scored nine points in overtime as Santa Rosa JC opened CCCAA Tournament play Saturday night with an 86-76 victory over Merritt at Haehl Pavilion.

The Bear Cubs trailed 33-24 at halftime before rallying to send the game into the extra period tied at 65.

Santa Rosa took the lead early in overtime and extended the advantage at the free throw line in the final minutes. Davone Oliver also came up big in the extra period, scoring seven points.

The Bear Cubs came in the No. 3 seed while Merritt was No. 13.

“I haven’t seen a team as athletic as Merritt since the preseason,” Santa Rosa coach Craig McMillan said of the Oakland team from the Bay Valley Conference. “They’re a very good.

“In the first half, we didn’t shoot well and on defense, we gave up a lot of penetrating shots.

“After halftime, everybody stepped up. We shot better and the defense tightened up.”

Hayes led the Bear Cubs’ offense with 25 points. Alec Kobre added 21 and Oliver finished with 18. Santa Rosa, winner of nine straight, hosts Ohlone at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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