By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
VENTURA, Calif. — Christopher Bradford poured in 27 points off the bench to lift College of the Canyons to a last second 82-80 win over Ventura College on day two of the San Juan Hills Toyota Classic hosted by Irvine Valley College.
Bradford's two biggest points didn't come until the final eight seconds, however, with the freshman guard able to convert a game-winning layup on a designed play following a COC timeout. He then recorded a steal in the game's final sequence to erase any hopes of a Ventura buzzer-beater.
Friday night's victory put Canyons (3-2) back in the win column after a brief two-game skid. The Cougars began the seson 2-0 before a 79-76 road loss at Cypress on Nov. 9, and a 68-49 defeat at the hands of tournament host Irvine Valley College on Thursday.
Ventura (3-3) tied the game at 50-50 after a 7-0 run highlighted by a Dayshone Henry layup with 13:32 to go that knotted things up.
With under nine minutes to play the Pirates had built a 69-57 lead after a three-pointer by Henry. But the Cougars cut it back to single digits after Bradford's layup with just over 7:30 to go.
Bradford finished the game 12-of-21 from the field and adding four rebounds and three assists. His three steals tied with Jordan Nash for the team lead.
Nash was COC's second-leading scorer with 15 points on a 6-of-11 shooting night. His six assists were a game high.
Bradford's steal at the 5:33 mark earned the freshman a pair of free throw attempts which he converted to cut the Pirates' lead to 74-70. On the next possession, a layup from Nash kept the game within reach at 76-72.
With 3:40 to go in the game COC freshman Joel Carrillo sank a pair of foul shots to inch closer at 76-74. However, Canyons would not retake the lead until Bradford drove the lane for a layup to make it 80-78 with 33 ticks on the clock.
Henry then tied the game at 80-80 with a pair of free throws of his own, that prompted the Canyons timeout and eventual game-winning drive delivered by Bradford.
For his efforts, Bradford was named to the San Juan Hills Toyota Classic All-Tournament team. The win also gave COC the tourney's Consolation Championship.
Sophomore Zach Phipps was the third Cougar to score in double digits, finishing with 11 points and three rebounds.
Canyons shot an even 50 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from behind the arc. COC also forced the Pirates into committing 17 turnovers.
Henry led Ventura with 34 points after going 13-of-26 for the night. His 10 rebounds also led the Pirates.
The Cougars will host its home-opener vs. Saddleback College (2-3) at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23.
As a reminder to fans, that contest game will be played at the MacArthur Center located on the campus of The Master's University at 21726 Placerita Canyon Road in Santa Clarita.
Stay up to date on all this season's action by following the College of the Canyons Athletic department on social media at @COCathletics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.