PORTERVILLE, CALIF.- The Fresno City College men's basketball program extended the nation's longest consecutive conference championship streak to 18 this past Saturday, when they defeated host Porterville College, 81-77. The CVC title is head coach Ed Madec's 13th consecutive championship, one shy of the CCCAA record. The Rams (23-3; 14-0) who remain undefeated in the CVC, will look to clinch a top two seed in the upcoming CCCAA Nor Cal Regional playoffs with a pair of home games this week, as they wrap up regular season play.
Looking to play spoiler, Porterville (13-12; 8-6) brought a postseason intensity to Saturday's matchup, looking to upset the visiting Rams on their "Sophomore Night." While the Rams took an early double-digit lead, a pair of costly Fresno City turnovers opened the door for the Pirates, who rallied to tie the game at 18 halfway through the first half. A combination of poor perimeter shooting from the Rams, as well as unforced errors, helped give Porterville their first lead of the game late in the first half. Both team's traded baskets in the final minutes of the opening half, with Fresno City taking a 34-33 lead into the intermission.
Fresno City looked to put some distance between themselves and the Pirates early in the second half, but a "white hot" Elijah Cardenas (4-4 from long range) and a number of offensive rebounds, helped Porterville stay within striking distance. Sophomore guard David Rico created a pair of turnovers for scores on consecutive possessions, helping Fresno City retake the lead. In the end, it was sophomore guard Georgie Dancer who put away Porterville, scoring 27 points on the night to go along with seven rebounds and five assists. Porterville tried to extend the game through fouling in the final minutes, but the Rams were able to convert from the free throw line, eventually putting the Pirates away for an 81-77 victory. With the win, Fresno City claimed the Central Valley Conference championship outright with two games remaining. The Rams had clinched at least a share of the CVC title on Wednesday with a 50-48 victory over second place Columbia College.
Dancer paced the Rams with 27 points on 9-15 shooting, including 2-5 from three-point range, and 7-8 from the charity stripe. Sophomore forward Ethan Richardson contributed 14 points and eight rebounds, while Rico scored 10 points and recorded three steals in the win. Jared Small was the other Ram in double figures scoring Saturday, recording 11 points while collecting four rebounds.
With the win, Fresno City extended the CCCAA's longest winning streak to 21 games and looks to extend that streak this week, when they return home for a pair of contests to closeout the regular season. The Rams play host to visiting Merced College (11-15; 7-7) this Wednesday night at 5 PM in the first game of a men's/women's doubleheader. They'll return home this Saturday to close out the regular season, when they host district rival Reedley College (9-17; 3-11) on "Sophomore Night." Tipoff for that contest is scheduled for 6 PM.