Jesse Teplitzky wanted his first game as the Santa Monica College men’s basketball coach to be special.
Not for his own satisfaction, but to show Corsair students and the neighboring community the school has a talented, hard-working, unselfish group of players who deserve their support.
A home game against Santa Ana College, a perennial playoff contender, was scheduled. In conjunction with the SMC women’s basketball team, a November 7 doubleheader was promoted on campus.
The stands were filled at 5:30 p.m. for the women’s game and again two hours later when the men began playing.
The SMC women lost their game but Teplitzky’s squad outlasted Santa Ana, 98-90 in an overtime thriller.
“It was an important game for our program,’’ said Teplitzky. ‘‘I think fans were provided the type of entertainment that will make them want to come back.’’
The next opportunity will be November 20, when SMC hosts LA Southwest College at 7:30 p.m.
The game against Santa Ana was tied at 79 after regulation. SMC’s Noah Gottlieb then was the difference in the extra five-minute session. Gottlieb, who had scored seven points in regulation, added 14 more in overtime – 14 of his team’s 19.
Gottlieb was an all-Western State Conference point guard last year as a freshman out of Venice High. He has moved to the off-guard position with the addition of Chris Blackwood, a transfer from Humboldt State University, essentially giving SMC two point guards on the floor.
In addition, Avery Martin, who was cut from last season’s SMC team, did well as Blackwood’s backup.
“At this level of basketball there’s a lot of pressing defenses and I think it’s good to have two ball-handlers in the game,” said Teplitzky.
Gottlieb hit a three-pointer, then another in overtime. He scored 10 of SMC’s first 11 points.
On the inside, 6-foot-4 Arthur Braswell battled the Dons with help from 6-8 John Brown and 6-3 Kevan Cross.
SMC had a 45-36 halftime lead but Santa Ana went ahead, 56-55, to set up the dramatic closing minutes.
“I was really pleased with the crowd,” said Teplitzky. “There’s an excitement on campus about the team.”
SMC then went to the LA City College Tournament and defeated East LA College, 66-49, on November 9 as Brown scored 10 points.