In their Western State Conference basketball opening game last Wednesday, the Santa Monica College men began the final minute against West Los Angeles College with a four-point deficit.
The crowd at Corsair Pavilion rose and cheered as guard Mark Brathwaite drove for a layup, was fouled and made the free throw, reducing the deficit to 68-67.
The game was there to be won at that point but the visitors were a little steadier the rest of the way and SMC lost, 71-69, reducing their overall record to 8-7.
Brathwaite, a freshman from Boston, was the Corsairs’ leading scorer with 22 points.
SMC Coach Trevor Shickman changed his lineup, as regular starters Shakir Johnson and Anthony Lomelo began the game on the bench. Johnson, the Corsairs’ 6-foot-9 center, came in after eight minutes, picked up four fouls and wasn’t much of a factor.
Lomelo made a three-point shot shortly before halftime to give the Corsairs a 34-32 lead at intermission. But the Oilers, coached by Ernie Carr, went in front in the second half, 56-47. After that the Corsairs were scrambling to catch up. They received a boost from reserve guard Herbie Johnson to get back into contention, but it wasn’t enough.
SMC had a bye Saturday. The team will play at Bakersfield Wednesday (January 11) and L.A. Valley Saturday, January 14, before returning home January 18 against Canyons.