Cuesta used a 21-5 closing run to edge SBCC 71-68 on Sunday in the consolation final of the Grossmont Invitational men’s basketball tournament.
The Vaqueros (2-6) led their WSC North rival 63-50 with 7:37 to play on a layup by Evan Tillman. Cuesta (8-4) went on a 17-3 burst, capped by a layup from Evgeniy Moiseev that gave the Cougars a 67-66 advantage with 1:18 to go.
Tejon Williams put SBCC back on top with a bucket but Moiseev got another layup to make it 69-68 Cuesta with 40 seconds to go. The Vaqueros missed a shot and Benat Hevia made two free throws with 0:10 showing.
Robert Hutchins’ 3-point try was blocked at the buzzer.
Hutchins hit 5-9 on 3-pointers and tallied a season-high 20 points for Santa Barbara. Martin Pedersen drained four triples in the first five minutes and scored all 13 of his points in the first half.
Willliams had 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists while Adrian Humphrey scored 10. Tillman, a 6-8 forward, collected nine points, five rebounds and two blocks.
The Vaqueros hit 9-13 from 3-point range in the first half and took a 41-31 lead. The margin grew to 15 points (59-44) with 12:19 to play on a pair of free throws by Humphrey.
SBCC shot a season-high 49 percent from the field and 52.6 percent from 3-point country (10-19). Cuesta hit 43.8 percent and made 8-28 from long range.
Karem Ozel led the Cougars with 19 points. Roberto Mantovani had 17 points and 13 rebounds, helping Cuesta to a 39-28 advantage on the boards.
The Vaqueros will host the 43rd annual SBCC Classic on Dec. 10-12. SBCC opens against Miramar of San Diego on Thursday at 7 p.m. In other first-round games, Desert will battle L.A. Valley at 3 p.m., Ventura and Palomar will tangle at 5 and Oxnard and Canada will square off at 9 p.m.