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Men's Basketball

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2015-16 Schedule/Results | 2015-16 Roster | 2015-16 Stats | 2014-15 Stats | Coaches

2014-15 Season | 2014-15 Schedule/Results | 2014-15 Stats | 2013-14 Season | 2013-14 Schedule/Results | 2012-13 Season | 2012-13 Schedule/Results | 2012-13 Roster / Bios 2012-13 Stats | 2011-12 Stats |  2010-11 Stats  | 2009-10 Stats | 2007-08 Stats | 2008-09 Stats

View, Download Images of Photos by Hugh Cox

2015-16 Season

PC dodges bullet vs. winless IVC, hosts MC Fri.

Ryan Schaefer (left) scored 20 points as the Comets moved to 14-9 on the season. Deven Riley and Spencer Benson joined Schaefer in double figures.

Matt Duniphan (right) hauled in 13 rebounds for Palomar while scoring eight points.

The Comets can take a huge step toward a possible second-place finish in the PCAC North, plus keep their title hopes alive, when they host rival MiraCosta in the first game of a doubleheader at 5 p.m.

In the second game, the PC women's team will host No. 1-ranked Mt. San Jacinto.

IMPERIAL (1-29-2016) -- Coach John O'Neill's Palomar men's basketball squad dodged a bullet vs. winless Imperial Valley on Wednesday night, winning a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference cross-division game 62-58 at the DePaoli Sports Complex.

Comets fall short in 2nd half as Miramar wins

SAN DIEGO (1-29-2016) -- The Palomar men's basketball squad went on the road and dropped a 66-53 Pacific Coast Athletic Conference North Division decision to San Diego Mesa on Friday night.

Palomar trailed by two points at the half 33-31, but the Jets drew away in the second half, during which they outscored the Comets 33-22.

Matt Duniphan (left) led Palomar (13-9, 2-2) with 19 points and eight rebounds. Ryan Schaefer also scored in double figures with 12 points. Kevin Hardyway added eight points.

Stefan Zivkovic had 21 points and 10 boards to lead Miramar.

State No. 6 Eagles take over PCAC North lead

SAN MARCOS (1-27-2016) -- Visiting Mt. San Jacinto College, ranked No. 3 in Southern California and No. 6 in the state, traded places with Palomar atop the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference North Division on Wednesday night in The Dome.

The Eagles (20-4, 2-1) won 73-52, taking over the conference lead and dropping the Comets (13-8, 2-1) into second place.

Spencer Benson (left) led Palomar with 14 points as he went 4-for-8 from the floor, 2-for-4 on 3-pointers and 4-for-5 from the free throw line.

Matt Duniphan tallied nine points for the Comets, who shot only 26.3 percent from the floor in the first half and 36.6 percent for the game. Ryan Schaefer and Deven Riley each added eight points.

Duniphan dished off a game-high four assists.

Ryan Schaefer's jumper 3 minutes, 17 seconds into the game puts Palomar in front of Grossmont 9-0. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

PC goes 2-0 in North with win over Grossmont

SAN MARCOS (1-22-2016) -- Runs of 9-0 to begin the game and 20-0 in a 5-minute, 53-second span in the second half sparked Palomar to a 69-66 Pacific Coast Athletic Conference North Division men's basketball victory over Grossmont on Friday night at The Dome.

Two lay-ins by Matt Duniphan, Spencer Benson's 3-point basket and Ryan Schaefer's jumper gave Palomar the early nine-point lead out of the starting blocks. Grossmont battled back and the teams made several lead changes before the Comets went up 31-29 at halftime on Schaefer's 3-pointer wth 5 second showing on the clock.

The Griffins then went on a 10-0 run to begin the second half, going on top 39-31. But the Comets answered with 20 unanswered points, with Deven Riley contributing 14 of them, and retook the lead at 51-39. The G-House was unable to completely recover after that.

Palomar, which had made only 2-of-8 first-half free throws, converted 12 attempts from the foul line down the stretch to hold onto the lead despite a late surge by the visitors that finally got the Griffins back to three points on Marcos Meza's 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Riley led the Comets with 19 points on the night. Duniphan and Schaefer each scored 16 points, and Kevin Hardyway added 13 points. Reid Bohanan contributed eight rebounds.

Palomar (13-7, 2-0) took over the early undisputed lead in the North Division over state No. 7-ranked Mt. San Jacinto, which notched a 93-75 victory over Southwestern in a cross-division game and remains 1-0 in the division.

The Comets have an opportunity to hold onto first place three games into the North season by upsetting Mt. San Jacinto in a 7 p.m. game on Wednesday at The Dome. The Eagles will come in with an 18-4 overall record.

Comets blow out Spartans in PCAC opener

OCEANSIDE (1-20-2016) -- Visiting Palomar fell behind rival MiraCosta by one point at halftime on Wednesday evening, then blew out the Spartans 72-51 with a big second half in a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference North men's basketball opener.

The Comets unloaded on MiraCosta in the second half 48-26 as Deven Riley (left), Ryan Schaefer (right) and Spencer Bentoncombined for 37 points over the final 19 minutes.

Riley, Palomar's leading scorer with 19 points on the night, and Schaefer (18 points for the game) led the Comets in the second half. Riley scored 12 points in the second half, going 6-for-7 from the free throw line. Schaefer was 8-for-8 from the line in the second half as he scored 12 points. Benton knocked down four second-half 3-pointers in scoring 13 of his 16 points after intermission.

Palomar (12-6, 1-0) went on a 20-12 run in an 8 1/2-minute stretch to begin the second half. Matt Dunipan put the Comets ahead to stay on a layup with 14:03 to play.

Riley led the winners in assists with five. Duniphan and Schaefer, each with seven rebounds, Reid Bohanan (six rebounds), and Riley and Carston Nyenhuis (each with five) led the way as Palomar built a 37-27 advantage on the boards.

Riley's defensive play kept the Spartans' top player, Buddha Boyd, in check for most of the evening before Boyd did finally broke lose for nine of his 10 second-half points in an eight-minute span after the game had gotten out of reach.

The Comets will return to The Dome to play Grossmont on Friday at 6 p.m.

TOP PHOTO: Palomar's Carston Nyenhuis takes a charge in Friday night's 51-49 victory over San Diego City College at The Dome. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Deven Riley knocks down a jumper for the game-winner with 30 seconds left in the game. -- Photos by Hugh Cox

PC holds off SD City at end of bizarre 2nd half

SAN MARCOS (1-15-2016) -- Palomar imploded in the second half against San Diego City College's Southern Division men's basketball favorites on Friday night, then recovered to beat the Knights 51-49 on Deven Riley's jumper with 30 seconds left in the game.

The Comets, breezing by 19 points at 47-28 midway through the second half in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference cross-division match-up at The Dome, suddenly could do nothing right for 10 1/2 minutes. City College went on a 19-2 run and pulled even at 49-49 with 1:31 remaining on a free throw by 7-foot center Leonard Allen.

Palomar had gone scoreless for 9 minutes, 14 seconds before Ryan Schaefer finally knocked down a jump shot with 40 seconds to play.

After Riley scored what turned out to be the winning basket, and following a defensive rebound by Dakota Orr with 4.4 seconds left, a missed front end of a one-on-one and a City College rebound, the Knights' Taylor Nelson missed what would have been a 3-point buzzer beater.

Schaefer (15 points), Riley (12 points) and Spencer Benson (12 points) scored in double figures for the Comets, while Allen led City College with 16 points.

Palomar advanced to 11-7, while City fell to 13-7. The Comets will open Northern Division play next Wednesday at MiraCosta at 5 p.m.

Deven Riley takes the ball in to score for Palomar in Wednesday night's 90-85 Pacific Coast Athletic Conference cross-division game at Southwestern. Riley finished with 30 points and 12 rebounds in a dominant performance, while Marlon Cort led the Jaguars to the victory with 26 points and 12 boards. -- Photo by Russell Scoffin, Southwestern College

Jaguars overcome big night by Comets' Riley

CHULA VISTA (1-13-2016) -- Sophomore guard Deven Riley had a huge night for the Palomar men's basketball team on Wednesday night, but Southwestern held off a late run by the visiting Comets to win the teams' Pacific Coast Athletic Conference cross-division game 90-85.

Fortunately for the Comets, cross-division games don't count in the PCAC standings, and the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Northern Division season doesn't begin until next Wednesday, when coach John O'Neill takes his squad on the road to face rival MiraCosta.

Riley finished with 30 points and 12 rebounds, going 9-for-15 from the field and 11-for-15 from the free throw stripe. Spencer Belson scored 17 points, going 7-for-13 from the field, before fouling out with 15 seconds remaining in the game.

Matt Duniphan had a big second half for the Comets and had 16 points and 13 rebounds on the night. It was the fifth double-double in Palomar's last six games for Duniphan, who had a 7-for-10 shooting night. Duniphan scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half, when he pulled down 10 of his 13 rebounds.

Ryan Schaefer also was in double figures for Palomar (10-7) with 14 points.

The Comets knocked down 52.6 percent of their shots for the game (30-for-57), including 55.6 percent in the first half, after which they trailed the Jaguars (11-7) by six points 49-43.

Southwestern (11-7), which was led by Marlon Cort's 26 points and 12 rebounds, shot 50 percent for the first half, the second half and the game.

Palomar will return home to host San Diego City College, favorite team in the Southern Division, on Friday at 6 p.m. at The Dome in the Comets' final tuneup before division play.

Schaefer's 3's down stretch lift PC past Mesa

SAN DIEGO (1-08-2016) -- Ryan Schaefer (left) scored 17 of his 20 points in the second half Friday night as he led Palomar to a hard-fought 67-61 Pacific Coast Athletic Conference cross-division men's basketball victory over an improved San Diego Mesa team on the road.

Schaefer knocked down four of his five 3-pointers on the night during a 6-minute, 55-second binge in the second half during which he accounted for 15 of Palomar's 18 points. Still, the Comets couldn't shake the Olympians and it took a Matt Duniphan lay-up off Spencer Benson's assist with 45 seconds to play to finally put coach John O'Neill's squad in front for good.

With Duniphan in early foul trouble, Carston Nyenhuis (above right) scored 11 of his 13 points on the night in the first half, including four quick buckets at the hoop in a 3-minute, 45-second span, as he helped the Comets inch out to a 36-28 lead at intermission. Guard Holden Hasket, who came off the bench to play just five minutes during the game, had three quick rebounds to help put Palomar in front at the half.

Duniphan, who sat out the last 11 minutes in the first half and 14 minutes in the second half, both because of fouls, started the second half by taking the ball to the basket for three quick buckets in just over two minutes before he picked up his fourth personal and went back to the bench.

Playing only 17 of the game's 40 minutes, Duniphan finished with eight points and a team-high six rebounds, breaking a streak of four straight double-double performances. He took three charges on the night before scoring what turned out to be the winning basket -- and barely avoided fouling out.

Schaefer (five), Deven Riley (four) and Benson (three) also stepped up in a big way by rebounding from their guard positions.

Benson added nine points, Riley eight and Reid Bohanan six points. Benson, playing most of the night at the point, dished off six assists.

Sohn Walker led a bigger, athletic Mesa team with 17 points and nine rebounds.

Palomar (10-6), which has won five of its last six games, will return to PCAC cross-division action on Wednesday of next week when the Comets travel to Southwestern, and Friday, when they return home to host Southern Division favorite San Diego City College.

Matt Duniphan scores to put Palomar in front against Cuyamaca 29-26 early in the second half on Wednesday night at The Dome. The Comets came back from a 26-25 halftime deficit to blow out the Coyotes 75-55. Duniphan had a fourth consecutive double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

Comets bury Coyotes under barrage of threes

SAN MARCOS (1-06-2016) -- Matt Duniphan's fourth straight double-double set the stage for his Palomar basketball teammates, who knocked down 10 straight 3-point shots in a 10 minutes and 22 seconds span in the second half to rock Cuyamaca's world on Wednesday night.

Duniphan's 19 points and 12 rebounds, and the Comets' long-range shooting, set the Coyotes packing 75-55 in the teams' PCAC cross-division match-up in The Dome.

Leading by seven points with just under 13 minutes left in the game, Palomar blitzed the visitors over the next 10:22 to go in front 71-48 with 2 minutes, 18 seconds to play. The 30 points came on consecutive 3-point buckets by Spencer Benson, Kevin Hardaway, Hardaway again, Hardaway once again, Ryan Schaefer, Hardaway yet again, Schaefer again, Benson again, Benson once again and Hardaway for the fifth time in the run.

Hardaway finished the night 6-for-9 from the field, 5-for-8 from behind the 3-point arc. Belson was 5-for-9 shooting, 4-for-7 from behind the arc. Schaefer also drained four 3-pointers as Palomar made 14-of-32 treys on the night.

Joining Duniphan in double figures: Hardaway (17 points), Benson (16 points), Schaefer 12 points and Deven Riley 11 points before fouling out. Duniphan and Reid Bohanan (10 boards) combined for 22 of the Comets' 40 rebounds as Palomar dominated Cuyamaca on the boards.

Schaefer passed off for five assists, Rileh four and Benson three. Jeron Satterfield went 6-for-6 on 3-pointers and led the Coyotes with 18 points.

Palomar (9-6 on the season) will visit San Diego Mesa on Friday at 5 p.m. in another cross-division game.

Duniphan is PCAC's Men's Athlete of the Week

SAN DIEGO (1-04-2016) -- Palomar basketball player Matt Duniphan has been selected by the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference as Men's Athlete of the Week for the week that ended Sunday.

Duniphan, a sophomore 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward/center out of Escondido High School, had three consecutive double-doubles, scoring 49 points and hauling in 44 rebounds, as the Comets won two of three games in the Imperial Valley College Holiday Classic.

On the first night of the tournament, Duniphan led the Comets to a 59-49 victory over Pasadena City College with 13 points and 14 rebounds.

In the championship semifinals, he had 20 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and two blocks in a 63-54 loss to Los Angeles Harbor, going 8-for-12 from the field.

In the tournament's third-place game the final day, Duniphan helped lead the Comets' to a 76-51 win over PCAC Northern Division rival San Diego Miramar with 16 points and 16 rebounds. He was 7-for-12 shooting.

PC puts 5 in double figures, rolls over Miramar

IMPERIAL (12-30-2015) -- Palomar put five players in double figures and routed San Diego Miramar 76-51 for third place in the Imperial Valley College Holiday Classic men's basketball tournament on Wednesday at DePaoli Sports Complex.

All-tournament selection Deven Riley (left) led the Comets with 19 points. He went 5-for-10 from the field and 8-for-9 from the free throw stripe, added a 3-point basket and also had 4 assists and 2 blocks.

Matt Duniphan (right) contributed his third straight double-double in the tournament and finished the game with 16 points (going 7-for-10 from the field) and 16 rebounds, including 7 on the offensive board.

Reid Bohanan (12 points, 6-for-6 from the field), Ryan Schaefer (10 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) and Spencer Benson (10 points) also scored in double figures for Palomar.

The Comets (8-6) led 32-21 at halftime, then outscored the Jets 44-30 in the second half.

It was the Comets' final game until 2016. They'll play Cuyamaca at The Dome at 7 p.m. a week from Wednesday, on Jan. 6, in a PCAC cross-division matchup. The Palomar women's team will play San Diego Mesa to open its conference season at 7 p.m. in the first game of a doubleheader.

Duniphan has another double-double in loss

IMPERIAL (12-29-2015) -- Los Angeles Harbor avenged a Thanksgiving weekend loss to Palomar on Tuesday night, overcoming another big performance by Matt Dunpihan to beat the Comets 63-54 in the championship semifinals of the Imperial Valley College Holiday Classic.

Duniphan (left) had his second double-double for the Comets (7-6) in two nights in the tournament with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Duniphan went 8-for-12 from the field and also passed off for five assists. He blocked two shots.

Reid Bohanan had eight points and seven rebounds.

Palomar will face Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Northern Division rival San Diego Miramar, an 83-48 loser to state No. 5-ranked San Bernardino Valley, in the third-place game on Wednesday at 3  p.m. at IVC's DePaoli Sports Complex.

PC downs Pasadena City College 59-49 at IVC

IMPERIAL (12-28-2015) -- The Palomar men's basektball team turned back Pasadena City College 59-49 in the first round of the Imperial Valley College Holiday Classic on Monday night and will play Los Angeles Harbor in a championship semifinal game on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Spencer Benson (15 points), Ryan Schaeffer (14 points) and Matt Duniphan (13 points and 14 rebounds, 7 each on the offensive and defensive boards) led the Comets past the Lancers.

Palomar (7-5) led 32-23 at the half.

Harbor won its first-round game 76-39 over the host team, Imperial Valley.

If the Comets beat the Seahawks for the second time this season on Tuesday night, they'll face the winner of the other championship semifinal matchup between San Bernardino Valley and San Diego Miramar on Wednesday at 3 p.m. for the tournament title.

San Bernardino defeated El Camino Compton Center 78-53 on Monday. Miramar downed College of the Desert 61-59.

Ryan Schaefer drains one of his four 3-pointers to give Palomar a 53-38 lead over COD with 13 minutes left in the second half on Tuesday night. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

PC holds off 3-point barrage by COD, wins 94-81

SAN MARCOS (12-17-2015) -- Ryan Schaefer led four Palomar players in double figures, scoring 25 points, as the Comets held off visiting College of the Desert 94-81 in a non-conference men's basketball game on Thursday night.

The Comets (6-5) led 50-29 early in the second half before COD battled back with a barrage of 3-point baskets to close to 50-41 midway through the second half. But the Roadrunners could get no closer than 9 points. He also passed off for a game-high 6 assists.

Also for Palomar, Reid Bohanan pulled down 9 rebounds, Nyuenhuis 7, and Trevor Lampkin and Duniphan had 6 each.

The Comets knocked down 53 percent of their shots.

Carston Nuenhuis (14 points), Matt Duniphan (11 points) and Dakota Orr (10 points) joined Schaeffer in double figures.

Palomar will be off until after Christmas, returning to action on Monday, Dec. 28, when they play Pasadena City College in the Imperial Valley Imperial Valley Holiday Classic at 7 p.m.

Jets squeek past Comets in consolation finals

SANTA BARBARA (12-12-2015) -- Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Northern Division rival San Diego Miramar edged Palomar 75-74 on Saturday in the consolation finals of the 43rd Annual Santa Barbara City College Classic.

The Jets (5-6) had to overcome a strong performance by Deven Riley (left) to do it.

Riley had 18 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals for the Comets (5-5).

Jordan Holmes (right, 14 points) and Matt Duniphan (11 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks) also scored in double figures for Palomar.

The Comets led 47-46 at halftime but Miramar came back to outscore them in the second half 29-27. Javan Berry scored 25 points for the Jets to lead both teams.

Next up for the Comets: a non-conference game vs. College of the Desert on Thursday at 5 p.m. at The Dome.

Schaefer (21 pts), Duniphan (13 boards) lift PC

SANTA BARBARA (12-11-2015) -- Ryan Schaefer (left) scored 21 points and dished off 5 assists and Matt Duniphan (right) had 15 points, 13 rebounds and 3 steals on Friday as Palomar downed Oxnard 93-89 to reach the consolation finals of the Santa Barbara City College Classic.

The Comets will play San Diego Miramar, which defeated Los Angeles Valley 73-64, for the consolation title on Saturday at 3 p.m. at The Sports Pavilion.

Jordan Holmes (19 points), Deven Riley (14 points and 5 assists) and Spencer Benson (11 points) also scored in double figures for the Comets, who advanced to 5-4 on the season.The Comets opened up a 47-28 halftime lead before holding off a 61-point second half by the Condors.

Reid Bohanan added 6 points for Palomar.

The Comets shot 52.5 percent from the field for the game, .531 on 17-for-32 shooting in the first half and .517 on 15-for-29 shooting in the second half.

DeSean Scott scored 34 points and had 12 rebounds for Oxnard (4-3).

Comets fall to Ventura to open SBCC tourney

SANTA BARBARA (12-10-2015) -- Palomar dropped a 71-63 decision to Ventura College on Thursday evening in the first round of the Santa Barbara City College Classic men's basketball tournament.

The Comets put four players in double figures in the loss -- Spencer Benson (left,15 points), Deven Riley (13 points), Matt Duniphan (right, 12 points, 9 rebounds) and Jordan Holmes (12 points, 8 rebounds).

The Vaqueros took a 41-32 lead at the half and the Comets could never catch up.

Tim Garcia led the Pirates in the win with 20 points.

Palomar will play Oxnard, an 81-70 loser to Canada, in the consolation semifinals on Friday at 3 p.m. The tournament runs through Saturday.

ABOVE: Jordan Holmes dunks the basketball just before the buzzer for the final two points of the game in Sunday's Palomar Thanksgiving Tournament championship game against state No. 2-ranked San Bernardino Valley. -- Photo by Philip Farry. BELOW: Deven Riley, who scored a game-high 27 points against the Wolverines

Comets scare state No. 2 SBVC before losing

SAN MARCOS (11-29-2015) -- Palomar played state No. 2-ranked San Bernardino Valley neck-and-neck in the championship game of the 11th Annual Palomar Thanksgiving Tournament at The Dome on Sunday night before the Wolverines pulled away down to stretch to win 88-77

Deven Riley, the leading scorer on the floor with 27 points, tied the game at 50-50 when he took the ball to the basket with 9:30 left in the game, and the Comets still trailed by only 3 points 57-54 with 7 minutes to play after a basket by Jordan Holmes.

But San Bernardino (9-0), which upset state No. 1-ranked and defending state champion Saddleback 63-60 in Friday's semifinals, began to draw away at that point with the help of key mistakes by the Comets, including a pair of costly technical fouls.

Palomar led by six points 27-21 with just over 5 minutes remaining in the first half after Riley knocked down a 3-point shot. San Bernardino came back to go on top at intermission 36-30 with a 15-3 run.

Ryan Schaefer drained three late 3-pointers and was the Comets' second-leading scorer with 11 points. Holmes scored 10 points and Trevon Lampkin added 9.

Riley had three 3-pointers and also dished off five assists before fouling out with 5 seconds left in the game. Matt Duniphan, who was named to the all-tournament team, took 3 more charges on the night.

For the Wolverines, JaCardo Hawkins (19 points), tournament MVP Brandon Jolly (16 points), Robert Lewis (15 points), and Perris Hicks (12 points) scored in double figures.

Saddleback rebounded from its Saturday upset loss to San Bernardino to rout Los Angeles Harbor 74-38 in the third-place game. In the consolation finals Southwestern beat San Diego Miramar 102-92 in a battle of two Pacific Coast Athletic Conference teams.

Palomar will play in the Santa Barbara City College Invitational in two weeks before returning home to face College of the Desert in a 5 p.m. non-conference game on Thursday, Dec. 18.

Both San Bernardino Valley and COD are joining the PCAC in 2016-17.

TOP PICTURE: Matt Duniphan (21) pulls down a missed 3-point shot by Harbor as the clock winds down. He rifled an outlet pass to Spencer Benson who who was immediately fouled and made two free throws with 9.2 seconds left. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Jordan Holmes drives around a Seahawk defender earlier in the second half. He dished the ball to Deven Riley for a lay-up. -- Photos by Hugh Cox

PC wins 58-54, to play state No. 2 team for title

SAN MARCOS (11-28-2015) -- After Saturday night's blue-collar, get-down-and-dirty 58-54 win over Los Angeles Harbor in the semifinals, Palomar will play state No. 2-ranked San Bernardino Valley in the championship game of the 11th Annual Palomar Thanksgiving Tournament on Sunday at 5 p.m. at The Dome.

In the other semifinal game, San Bernardino battled back from an early 30-8 deficit to hang a 63-60 defeat on defending state champion Saddleback, California's No. 1-ranked team. 

Here's way it ended in the Comets' victory over Harbor in Saturday's last game:

2:18 to play: With the Seahawks on top by 2 points, Deven Riley knocked down a 3-point bucket to put Palomar in front 55-54. It turned out to be the game-winner.

1:27 left: Matt Duniphan pulled down a key defensive rebound for the Comets.

59 seconds left: Duniphan hauled in a key offensive rebound.

18 seconds left: Spencer Benson, who led the winners with 13 points and 5 assists, made the front end of a one-and-one. The Comets led 56-54.

10 seconds left: Duniphan rebounded a 3-point attempt by Harbor and passed off to Benson who was immediately fouled.

9.2 seconds left: Benson' dropped in two free throws. Palomar led by the final 58-54 score.

3.5 seconds left: Duniphan took his third charge of the night, finishing off the Seahawks.

Riley had 11 points and 6 rebounds for the Comets. Trevon Lampkin contributed 8 points, Ryan Schaefer and Jordan Holmes each added 7 points, Reid Bohanan went 3-for-3 to score 6 second-half points and Duniphan led both teams with 8 rebounds.

Harbor's Dharion Tanner led all scorers wieth 23 points.

Palomar, which advanced to 4-2 with its fourth straight win, overcame an icy 31.6 percent first-half shooting performance and an 8-for-26 night on 3-pointers.

In the first two games Sunday, San Diego Miramar and Southwestern meet for the consolation title at 1 p.m. and Saddleback plays Harbor at 3 p.m. in the third-place game.

In the consolation semifinals, Miramar downed Los Angeles Trade Tech 94-73 and Southwestern defeated Los Angeles Southwest 82-65.

Kevin Hardyway's layup (top photo) put Palomar up 37-29 and the Comets' lead grew to 40-29 late in the first half on Ryan Schaefer's 3-pointer from the corner Friday night at The Dome. Palomar led by 10 points at intermission, traded the lead back and forth in the second half and won 75-71 to reach Saturday's 5 p.m. championship semifinals of its own tournament. -- Photos by Hugh Cox

Comets battle way into championship semis

SAN MARCOS (11-27-2015) -- Palomar shot 52.6 percent from the field, put four players in double figures and held on to beat Los Angeles Southwest 75-71 on Friday night at The Dome as the Comets advanced to the championship semifinals of the 11th Annual Palomar Thanksgiving Tournament.

Palomar will play Los Angeles Harbor, a 75-68 winner over Southwestern, in one championship semifinal game on Saturday at 7 p.m. In the other semifinal, state No. 1-ranked and defending state champion Saddleback plays state No. 2-ranked San Bernardino Valley at 5 p.m. in the most-anticipated match-up of the early season in California community college basketball.

Spencer Benson, a 6-foot-5 freshman forward from Vista Murrieta High School, led coach John O'Neill's squad with 19 points and 8 rebounds and put the Comets ahead to stay when he scored inside with 2:37 left to play to make it 72-71.

Benson added two free throws with 1:17 remaining and Ryan Schaefer made the second of two free throws with 2.9 seconds to play, putting the game out of reach.

Benson's go-ahead bucket came after a Christian Carter 3-pointer put the Cougars in front for the final time in the back-and-fourth game 71-70 with 3:31 left. It was the last time L.A. Southwest was able to score.

No. 2 San Bernardino Valley (7-0) raced past San Diego Miramar 102-89 and No. 1 Saddleback (6-0), delayed in arriving for two hours after the Gauchos' bus sat idle on Interstate 5 coming south because when an accident brought traffic to a standstill, appeared out of sorts by the experience but still defeated Los Angeles Trade Tech 62-57 to reach Saturday's early semifinal game.

L.A. Harbor earned the right to face Palomar in the 7 p.m. semifinal when the Seahawks held off Southwestern 75-68.

The Comets also got double-figure production from Ryan Schaeffer (17 points, three 3-pointers), Deven Riley (15 points, 9 rebounds) and Matt Duniphan (10 points going 4-for-4 from the field and 2-for-2 from line, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks) before fouling out with 25 seconds to play.

And they needed it all on a night the Cougars got 34 points including 7-for-9 shooting beyond the 3-point arc from Franklin Sadler and 17 points and five 3's from Carson.

Riley rocked The Dome with a thunderous dunk with with 18 minutes left that made it 51-40 and had three key points to put Palomar in front 70-68 with under 4 minutes to play. Reid Bohanan preceded that with three straight free throws.

The Comets now have won three games in a row since starting the season 0-2 in the Ventura Tournament, including an embarrasing loss to then state No. 4-ranked Antelope Valley to open the season.

In Saturday's consolation semifinals, Miramar faces L.A. Trade Tech at 1 p.m. and Southwestern plays L.A. Southwest at 3 p.m. The tournament runs through Sunday with the championship game at 5 p.m.

Duniphan (19 pts, 10 rbs) ignites upset victory

FULLERTON (11-18-2015) -- Matt Duniphan (left) scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half and also hauled in 10 rebounds Wednesday as Palomar upset state No. 15-ranked Fullerton 72-65 in a non-conference game at Hornet Gym.

Duniphan, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound sophomore out of Escondido High School, took control of the game in the second half as he led the Comets (2-2) back from a 37-27 halftime deficit (12 points at one time). He was 7-for-9 from the floor for the night.

Duniphan tied the game at 62-62 when he scored on a layup off Carston Nyenhuis' assist, then put Palomar in front 64-62 with 2:10 remaining in the game when he got loose for another layin off a Spencer Benson pass.

Ryan Schaefer (right) followed with a 3-point bucket with 1:39 left and the Comets were off and running at 67-62. Deven Riley's two free throws at the 43-second mark made it 69-62 and completely took the sting out of the Hornets.

Fullerton had come into the game with a 5-1 record and with the first championship in its own tournament over the weekend for the first time since 2007. The Hornets downed Chaffey 75-63 in the championship game.

Schaefer (15 points, 3 three-pointers), Benson (13 points) and Riley (11 points, 8 rebounds) joined Duniphan in double figures for Palomar.

The Comets shot 50.0 percent in the second half (14-for-25).

Coach John O'Neill's defending Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Northern Division co-champions will return to action a week from Friday when they host the Palomar Thanksgiving Tournament. The Comets will open against Los Angeles Southwest at 7 o'clock the first night.

TOP PHOTO: Ryan Schaefer (3) sets for a 3-pointer that put the game out of reach with 7:05 left in Palomar's 86-76 victory on the road over Orange Coast on Wednesday night. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Deven Riley scores to put the Comets up by 13 one minute into the second half. -- Photos by Hugh Cox

Schaefer (23 points), Riley (21) lead Comets

COSTA MESA (11-11-2015) -- Ryan Schaefer, coming off a leg injury, scored 23 points and Deven Riley scored 21 points on Wednesday night, leading visiting Palomar to an 86-76 men's basketball victory.

Schaefer returned to action for the Comets in last weekend's We Play Hard Tournament at Ventura, only days after being released to play following a leg injury that sidelined him since the summer. He finally returned to form on Wednesday as Palomar avenged a loss to Orange Coast in the tournament.

The Pirates led early but the Comets went in front on a 3-pointer by Spencer Banson with 18:41 left in the first half and Orange Coast never was in front again.

Palomar was up 43-28 at the half. Coast methodically came back and closed the gap to four points (65-61) with 7:25 remaining in the game. But Schaefer answered with a 3-point bucket with 7:05 to make it 68-61.

The bucket quieted the Orange Coast crowd and turned out to be the turnng point in the game.

The Comets will be off until they visit Fullerton next Tuesday at 6 p.m..

No. 4 AVC, Coast eliminate Comets in 2 games

VENTURA (11-05-2015) / (11-06-2015) -- Pre-season state No. 4-ranked Antelope Valley ruined Palomar's men's basketball opener on Thursday afternoon with a 91-61 victory in the opening round of Ventura College's We Play Hard Tournament.

Orange Coast then eliminated the Comets on Friday 78-72.

Comets to open vs. Antelope Valley at Ventura

VENTURA (11-05-2015) -- Palomar, coming off a season that saw the Comets tie Mt. San Jacinto for the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Northern Division men's basketball championship, tips off its 2015-16 schedule on Thursday in the first round of the We Play Hard Tournament.

Tipoff is slated for 3 p.m. at the Ventura College Athletic Center.

Coach John O'Neill's Comets, who went 15-12 overall last season and were 6-2 in the PCAC Northern Division, return three starters from that team.

Ryan Schaefer is a 6-foot-0 point guard from Temecula Valley High School.

Matt Duniphan (left) is a 6-foot-8 forward out of Escondido High School.

And Deven Riley (right) is a 6-foot-2 guard from Elsinore High School who came to Palomar a year ago after red-shirting at Irvine Valley College.

The other returnees from 2014-15 are forwards Carston Nyenhuis (6-7, from Vista High School and Reid Bohanan, a 6-foot-6 forward from Murrieta Valley High.

The freshmen on the team are Kevin Hardyway (6-1 guard from La Costa Canyon High who red-shirted at San Diego City College); Jordan Holmes (6-4 forward from Bullard High in Fresno who red-shirted at MiraCosta; Kaisei Joji (5-10 guard from Yurigoaka High School in Japan); Trevon Lampkin (5-11 guard from Elsinore High); Holden Haskett (6-5 forward from Horizon Christian Academy who spent last year at Auburn University strictly as a student) and Spencer Benson (6-5 forward from Vista Murrieta High who red-shirted at Mt. San Jacinto).

2014-15 Season

ABOVE: Palomar hams it up with some of its loudest supporters after its overtime win at MiraCosta on Friday night that gave the Comets a tie with Mt. San Jacinto for the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference North men's basketball championship. -- Photo courtesy of Denise Barba. BELOW: Deven Riley

Riley and Co. win in OT, tie for conference title

OCEANSIDE (2-20-2015) -- Palomar's Deven Riley took over the game in the late going Friday night and won a championship for the Comets.

Riley, a 6-foot-2 freshman guard from Elsinore High School, scored 16 of his game-high 26 points in the last 8 minutes, 16 seconds of regulation and in overtime, as the Comets tied Mt. San Jacinto for the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference North title with a 67-62 win on the road over MiraCosta.

Riley also hauled in seven rebounds and played lock-down defense on the Spartans' highly-touted Buddha Boyd, holding Boyd to a season-low three points.

He had plenty of help from his friends -- particularly Jeremy Franklin who contributed 14 points and 20 rebounds, 18 on the defensive board, and Matt Duniphan who also had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Duniphan also took four charges.

Ryan Schaefer pulled down seven defensive rebounds from his guard position, and point guard James Sampson dished off six assists.

Palomar (15-12, 6-2) led 30-28 at halftime, fell behind by nine in the second half, pulled even at 45, then regained the lead and took the game to overtime as Riley scored 10 of their last 12 points in regulation. He tacked on four points in the OT, while Sampson and Franklin each had two points and Duniphan scored one.

The Comets, who outscored the Spartans 9-3 in the overtime, split their two games with Mt. San Jacinto, the other co-champion, which turned back Grossmont 79-72 in its regular-season finale Friday night. Palomar will find out its post-season playoff fate after the Southern California seeding meeting on Monday morning.

PC comes back to win, is 1 win from North title

EL CAJON (2-18-2015) -- Led by Deven Riley (left), Palomar rallied from a six-point halftime deficit to win on the road over Grossmont 69-57 on Wednesday. Just like the PC women's team, the Comet men's basketball squad can clinch at least a tie for a conference championship by winning its final regular season game on Friday.

The Comets (14-12, 5-2) are still tied for the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Northern Division lead with Mt. San Jacinto, which snapped San Diego Miramar's three-game win streak 80-66 on Friday and is 21-7, 5-2.

A Palomar win at MiraCosta and a Grossmont win at Mt. San Jacinto on Friday would give the Comets the championship outright. But if both Palomar and Mt. San Jac win, or they both lose, the two teams will share the title.

Palomar roared back in the second half, erasing a 32-26 halftime deficit and opening up a 17-point lead on the G-House before finally wining by 12.

Deven Riley ignited the Comets' comeback, scoring 18 of his game-high 23 points in the second half. Matt Duniphan (right), who was the second-leading scorer for Palomar with14 points, finally put the Comets in front for the first time since early in the game when he converted two free throws with 10:05 to play make it 40-39. The G-House never pulled even again.

Ryan Schaefer (13 points) and Jeremy Franklin (12 points) also scored in double figures for Palomar. Franklin led both teams in rebounding with nine, Duniphan had eight and Schaefer and Riley each contributed six rebounds. The Comets had a 34-24 advantage on the boards.

Shane Shelton led the Griffins with 12 points.

Duniphan gets physical as PC pounds Arabs

SAN MARCOS (2-13-2015) -- Jeremy Franklin scored a typical 19 points. James Sampson narrowly missed a triple-double with 12 points, 9 assists and 9 rebounds. And K.J. Houston (left), in the starting lineup on Sophomore Night in his final home game at Palomar, gave a performance to remember him by with 10 points and 6 boards.

But the biggest reason the Comets were able to pound Imperial Valley into submission 86-68 on Friday in a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference cross-division game at The Dome had to be freshman forward Matt Duniphan, who owned the game inside.

Duniphan (right), a 6-foot-8, 220-pound freshman out of Escondido High School, had his first college double-double with 10 points, 12 rebounds (6 on the offensive board) and played his signature physical, blue-collar defense. He took four charges.

The only thing that kept Duniphan from a completely dominant night was that, although he kept battling his way to the line as he muscled his way to the basket and/or got knocked down to draw fouls, he could not buy a free throw. He was 0-for-5 from the line.

Franklin went 8-for-11 from the field, including a spectacular, backboard-rattling slam dunk in traffic with 3:43 left in the second half. Duniphan went 5-for-9 from the field, Sampson 5-for-6 and Houston 4-for-6.

The above four players were a combined 22-for-32 from the field, a 68.8 percent shooting percentage, as the Comets (13-12 on the season) shot 63 percent in the first half and 57 percent for the game.

Palomar balanced its inside game by burying 12 three-pointers, eight in the first half. Franklin was 3-for-6 from behind the arc, Sampson 2-for-2, Ryan Schaefer and Houston each 2-for-4 and Jared Kane was 2-for-5.

And the Comets mixed in some spectacular assists, including two in a row by Schaefer on back-to-back  buckets by Deven Riley and Carston Nyenhuis seven minutes into the second half.


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