Vallejo, Calif. - Despite all odds, the PUC Men's Basketball team took home the California Pacific Conference Championship title, defeating the five-year defending champions Cal Maritime, 71-70.
The Pioneers began their championship debut struggling to find their rhythm. At halftime, they were trailing the Keelhaulers by ten points.
Once again, their defensive effort swung the game momentum their way, as they went on a 10-0 run to open the second half. The crowd would find no relief in their school's lead, as both teams tied six times throughout the second half. It came down to the last possession, just as it did on Feb. 18 when Jayson Marquez (JR/Harlem, NY) hit a three with less than a second remaining to beat CSUM by one in the regular season finale.
PUC drained a shot with less than a second left in regulation to beat Cal Maritime, this time it was Rae Hubbard (JR/Fairfield, CA) who registered the shot to secure the 71-70 win and the California Pacific Conference Championship title.
Hubbard led PUC with 14 points, hitting 4-of-7 from the 3-point line. Marquez had 13 points, while Devon Pinnock (JR/Harlem, NY) added nine points and seven rebounds.
Cal Maritime finished the season 20-12, falling victim to free-throw errors, missing four out of six attempts in the final minutes of the game. Daniel Radford led all scorers with 21 points, hitting 12-of-16 from the line. Phil Randles finished with 18 points, and Travis Arenas added seven points and eight boards.
The third-seeded Pioneers (17-6) have set school records for wins in a season and have advanced farther than any other team in school history. The Pioneers will represent the Cal Pac at the NAIA National Tournament, which begins on March 8 at the College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Mo.