By Jeremy Gonzalez, Sports Editor
The CSUDH men’s basketball team opened up their three-day DH Thanksgiving Classic against Dominican University on Monday night and produced a thriller for those in attendance at the Torodome in Carson.
Current CCAA Freshman of the Year and CSUDH guard Alex Garcia drained a game-winning three pointer in the final seconds of the Toros matchup against Dominican to lead the Toros over the Penguins 65-64 on Monday night and extend the team’s winning streak to five games.
Both teams were exchanging baskets in a back-and-forth affair that saw the Toros trailing at halftime 33-32 despite shooting 56% from the field in the first half. CSUDH had led for a majority of the half before eventually trailing.
The energy from the first half carried over into the second half as both teams continued to trade buckets, finishing with a total of 15 lead changes throughout the match.
Penguins guards Jaelen Ragsdale and Jordan Williams led the charge for Dominican, combining for 34 of the team’s 64 points in the matchup.
Williams hit a jumper near the top of the key to give his team a 64-62 lead over the Toros with just 8.9 seconds left in regulation. Toros guard Colten Kresl dished the ball to Garcia’s hands, who drilled the game-winner from the corner to give his team the 65-64 victory.
“When the clock is running down, you don’t really think,” Garcia said. “I just let that thing fly. That’s the repetition and work you put in. That’s a shot I work on everyday after games.”
Toros head coach Steve Becker had nothing but praise for the sophomore guard who stepped up in a big moment for the Toros.
“[Garcia] is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever been around,” Becker said. “He’s the type of guy who will be in the gym after a game like this to get more shots up. He made the shot and we were able to get out of there with a win.”
The Toros opened up their season 0-2 but have bounced back to win five straight games while remaining undefeated in the Torodome 4-0.
Kresl led the charge for the Toros offensively, scoring 15 while adding four rebounds, three assists and three steals. Toros center Armstrong Ojunkwu came off the bench to score 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds while Wonder Smith and Garcia each added 11 points.
One statistic that loomed over the Toros all game was their turnovers. They gave away the ball a total of 23 times in the matchup against Dominican, 10 turnovers more than their average per game.
“We need to look in the mirror and do a better job of valuing the basketball and understanding what has allowed us to play well prior to this game,” Becker said. “One of those major factors was limiting turnovers. We need to learn from that.”
The Toros move to 5-2 on the season thanks to their narrow victory on Monday night and will get a day’s rest before returning to the Torodome Wednesday afternoon to face Purdue Northwest. Tip-off for Wednesday’s matchup is scheduled for 3 p.m.