1140 W. Mission Rd.
San Marcos, CA 92069
(760) 744-1150 X 2460
FAX (760) 761-3512
Athletic Director:
Scott Cathcart


John O'Neill, Head Coach joneill@palomar.edu John Hotaling, Associate Head Coach jhotaling@palomar.edu



          Deven Riley

         Matt Duniphan


SAN MARCOS (2-24-2016) -- Visiting Citrus ousted Palomar from the Southern California men’s basketball playoffs in the first round 77-63 Wednesday night at The Dome, but not before 6-foot-8 sophomore Matt Duniphan ended his PC career with a memorable final performance.

Duniphan, headed to NAIA power College of Idaho, scored 22 points, went 8-for-12 from the floor in a dominant performance under the basket, grabbed nine rebounds, blocked a shot, contributed two steals and took an incredible seven charges.

Sophomore guard Keven Deven, along with Duniphan a first-team All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference North Division selection, also had a big final night as a Comet with 20 points and five assists.

"I've never had a player take seven charges (in a 36-year career coaching at the high school and community college levels), not even close," Palomar coach John O'Neill said of Duniphan's performance. The Comets took 11 charges as a team.

"And Deven Riley, he was a man tonight."

But none of that was able to overcome a frigid 2-for-14 night from behind the 3-point arc for the Comets, who have utilized 3-point baskets as a big part of their success all season long.

And a very efficient performance by a quick, deep Citrus team had a lot to do with the game's result by its play at both ends of The Dome court. The Owls, led by Caleb Richey's 17 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals, outscored the Comets 33 points to six points from behind the arc and got 24 points from the bench to Palomar's four points from the bench.

Kevin Hardaway, who came on strong late in the season after finally earning a starting job, was the Comets' third leading scorer with seven points, while Ryan Schaefer had four assists and five rebounds from his guard position.

Carston Nyenhuis and Holden Haskett also had big blocks for Palomar, with Haskett's violent block sending the ball sailing across the the court. 

While Citrus advanced to 15-13 on the season to advance to a second-round meeting with Southern California No. 2 seed San Bernardino Valley, Palomar ended the season 17-11

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Men's Basketball

'California State Tournament 3rd Place 1958-59'

SOUTH CENTRAL CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS 1958-59, 1960-61, 1961-62, 1962-63


PACIFIC COAST CONFERENCE / PACIFIC COAST ATHLETIC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2002-2003, 2005-2006, 2012-13, 2014-2015


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View, Download Images of Photos by Hugh Cox


Off-Season ...


Anthony Bolton became the 18th former Comet in history to land a high school head basketball coaching position when he was recently hired at Vista High School. Eight ex-Palomar men's basketball players are currently head high school coaches. Ten other ex-Comets have retired as head prep coaches. -- Courtesy photo

PC's prep coaching list grows with Bolton hire

SAN MARCOS (7-13-2016): "Cradle of coaches" may be an overworked and tired phrase many places. But for Palomar's men's basketball program, it fits.

The recent hire of ex-Comet Anthony Bolton at Vista High School, following right on the heels of Aaron Abrams' being hired at crosstown rival Rancho Buena Vista, the list of former Comets who are current high school head coaches has grown to eight.

Add ex-Comets who went on to become high school head coaches and are now retired -- and the list expands to 18.

"Anthony Bolton is the smartest player I've ever coached," Palomar coach John O'Neill said in a San Diego Union-Tribune feature last week last week of the 6-foot-7 forward and point guard who was a two-team All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference first-team selection on back-to-back PCAC championship teams coached by Virgil Watson and associate head coach O'Neill in 1999-2000 and 2000-2001.

"As our (2000-2001) season wore on, it became evident he was our leader," O'Neill continued. "He brought out the best in his teammates. He certainly brought out the best in Aaron (Abrams), who was a really good player. Anthony had that 'it' factor that not many players have."

Bolton, who went on the star for two seasons at Cal State Fullerton where he earned his bachelor's degree, and Abrams who had played for O'Neill at Rancho Buena Vista, were Palomar League Co-Players of the Year as high school seniors. Bolton enrolled at Palomar the following year and Abrams joined him the year after that when he transferred from Wyoming.

Bolton got the Vista head job after being the No. 1 assistant at Mission Hills, stepping in for Charlie Mercado, a former teammate at both Vista and Palomar who stepped down as the Panthers' head coach to concentrate on his duties as a club coach.

Abrams, the CIF San Diego Section Player of the Year for O'Neill at RBV, went on from Palomar to two outstanding seasons at Division II Hawaii Pacific and then played for three years in Europe. He was the top assistant at Rancho Buena Vista a year ago. Abrams and Bolton each describe the other as his "best friend."

Bolton was inducted into the Palomar Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014. 

CLICK HERE to read SD Union-Tribune feature on recent hirings of ex-Comets Anthony Bolton and Aaron Abrams at local high schools


Name Coaches at Palomar High School Coaching Position
Aaron Abrams Virgil Watson/John O'Neill Rancho Buena Vista
Paul Baldwin Andy Gilmour Escondido
Anthony Bolton Virgil Watson/John O'Neill Vista
Dante Carey Irv Leifer/V. Watson/J. O'Neill San Marcos
Chris Featherly Virgil Watson/John O'Neill Orange Glen
Chris Kroesch Virgil Watson/John O'Neill Mission Hills (girls team)
Ryan Meier Irv Leifer La Jolla Day
Chris Vitous Andy Gilmour Mt. Carmel
Name Coaches at Palomar High School Coaching Position
Duane Barnes Rusty Myers Vista
Mike Davert Andy Gilmour Southeast Saline (Gypsum, Kansas)
Greg Edwards Andy Gilmour Hillsboro (Hillsboro, Oregon)
Joe Gentile Irv Leifer City (Iowa City, Iowa)
Ron Guiles Andy Gilmour San Pasqual / Vista
Charlie Mercado Virgil Watson/John O'Neill Vista
Scott Ogden Andy Gilmour Oceanside / Carlsbad
Don Portis Rusty Myers Escondido
Mike Williams Joe Brennan Escondido
Fentriss Winn Andy Gilmour Bishop's

 2015-16 Season ...

Description: C:\Users\tsaxejr\Desktop\2006-16 Photos\16.riley.signing.jpg

Palomar guard Deven Riley is pictured with Associate Head Coach John Hotaling (left) and head coach John O'Neill after signing with NCAA Division II Hawaii Pacific University. Riley averaged 16.7 points in Pacific Coast Athletic Conference North games for a Palomar team that went 17-11 on the season. He'll joins center Matt Duniphan, who previously signed with College of Idaho, on the four-year college level. -- Courtesy photo

Riley signs with NCAA Div. II Hawaii Pacific

SAN MARCOS (5-12-16): Deven Riley, Palomar’s leading men’s basketball scorer and a first-team All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference North selection, has accepted a scholarship to play at Hawaii Pacific University.

Hawaii Pacific is a member of the Pacific West Conference and is located in Honolulu. The Sharks went 19-9 during the 2015-16 season and finished 14-6 in the Pacwest Conference.

Riley, a 6-foot-2 guard who came to Palomar from Elsinore High School, helped lead the Comets to the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference North championship as a freshman in 2014-15 and averaged 16.7 points in conference games this past season, shooting 47.4 percent from the field and 88.4 percent from the free throw line. He averaged 5.3 rebounds in conference.

For the season, Riley averaged 14.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists.

He and his Palomar teammates went 17-11 on the season, finished second in the PCAC North and advanced to the Southern California Community College playoffs where they lost to Citrus.

As a freshman in 2014-15, Riley averaged 12.6 points in conference play and 8.8 on the season.

Matt Duniphan, scoring here in a 75-55 victory over Cuyamaca on Jan. 6, is one of two Palomar players selected to the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference North Division first team by conference coaches. Duniphan has committed to College of Idaho, an NAIA power team where the Comets' 7-foot-1 Joe Vaz played for two seasons and one of two colleges where NBA Hall of Fame legend Elgin Baylor played. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

Riley, Duniphan are first-team all-conference

SAN DIEGO (2-20-2016) -- Palomar sophomores Deven Riley and Matt Duniphan have been voted to the All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference North Division first team by division coaches.

Riley is a 6-foot-2 guard from Elsinore High School, while Duniphan is a 6-foot-8 power forward and center out of Escondido High School.

Two Comets were selected to the second team, 6-foot-5 freshman guard Spencer Benson from Vista Murrieta High School and 6-foot-0 sophomore guard Ryan Schaefer from Temecula Valley High School. The Comets' Kevin Hardyway, a 6-foot-1 guard from El Camino High School, received honorable mention.

Tre Nottingham of division champion Mt. San Jacinto was named Player of the Year. The Eagles' Patrick Spring is the Coach of the Year.

Kevin Hardyway takes the ball to the bucket in Comets’ 94-71 victory over Miramar on Wednesday night. – Photo by Philip Farry

Comets roll Jets, await SoCal playoff seedings

SAN MARCOS (2-17-2016) – Palomar shot down San Diego Miramar 94-71 at The Dome on Wednesday night to close its men’s basketball regular season and will wait for results of the Southern California seeding meeting to find out what awaits it in the post-season.

Spencer Benson (29 points, 8 rebounds), Kevin Hardyway (16 points), Ryan Schaefer (14 points, 6 assists), Matt Duniphan (12 points, 5 rebounds) and Deven Riley (9 rebounds, 9 assists) led the Comets as they advanced to 17-10 overall and 5-3 to finish their conference season. They have a bye on the last night of conference play on Friday.

Palomar led at the half 45-31 on Sophomore Night in the first game of a "Coaches vs. Cancer" doubleheader and were on top by as many as 30 points in the second half. Miramar's Christian Johnson scored 23 points.

First-place Eagles hold off second-place Comets

SAN JACINTO (2-12-2016) -- First-place and state No. 5-ranked Mt. San Jacinto turned back second-place Palomar 80-70 in Pacific Coast Athletic Conference North Division men's basketball on Friday night.

The Comets had clinched second place by winning Wednesday night on the road over Grossmont.

Palomar came back from a 19-point halftime deficit to outscore the Eagles 45-36 in the second half, but it wasn't enough.

For the Comets (16-10, 4-3), Spencer Benson (left) scored 21 points. Devan Riley contributed 19 points and Matt Duniphan also was in double figures with 10 points.

Kevin Hardyway aded nine points and had a team-high six rebounds. Ryan Schaefer dished off five assists.

Roosevelt Adams led four Mt. San Jacinto players in double figures with 20 points.

The Eagles (24-4, 6-0) pounded the Comets on the boards 38-26 which made a huge difference in the game.

Palomar wins behind Riley's 27, clinches 2nd

EL CAJON (2-10-2016) -- With one starter in street clothes with an injury and another starter playing despite an injury, the Palomar men's basketball team circled the wagons and won 69-61 on the road against Grossmont on Wednesday night.

In the process, the Comets (16-9, 4-2) clinched no worse than a tie for second place in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference with two games to play.

Deven Riley (above left) led the Comets with 27 points and six rebounds. He went 7-for-15 from the field, buried one 3-pointer and was 12-for-13 from the free throw line.

Riley scored nine of Palomar's last 12 points as the Comets drew away down the stretch, including 8-of-8 free throws in the final 2 minutes, 5 seconds and six foul shots in the final 26 seconds.

Spencer Benton contributed 14 points, including four 3-pointers, and hauled down nine rebounds.

Matt Duniphan added 11 points and had two blocks, including a big one as the scoreboard clock clicked down to help seal the victory. He also drew three charges.

Carston Nyenhuis scored on three of four field goal attempts inside and also had six rebounds. Kevin Hardyway also scored six points, and Ryan Schaefer pulled down five rebounds.

Holden Haskett (right) contributed four key rebounds off the bench.

Kevin Hardyway scores to put Palomar up on MiraCosta 62-58 with just over nine minutes to play in the Comets' 86-82 victory on Friday night. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

PC sends MiraCosta packing to sweep series

SAN MARCOS (2-05-2016) -- Getting 22 points from Spencer Benson, 19 points each from Matt Duniphan and Deven Riley and 10 assists from Ryan Schaefer, Palomar swept its season series from rival MiraCosta on Friday night in The Dome, dispatching the Spartans 86-82.

In sweeping the Spartans for the third season in a row, the Comets (15-9, 3-2) took over undisputed second in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Northern Division behind first-place Mt. San Jacinto, which advanced to 23-4, 5-4 by holding off Grossmont 72-70 in overtime Friday.

MiraCosta (11-13, 1-4) falls into last place in the division despite a 27-point performance from Buddha Boyd, who had four fouls at halftime and fouled out with 2.5 seconds left in the game.

The Spartans scored 16 of the final 25 points in the first half to take a 39-35 lead in at intermission. But back came the Comets in the second half as Duniphan, who sat out most of the first half after getting in early foul trouble, scored 15 of his 19 points in the final 20 minutes.

Duniphan, who led the Comets with eight rebounds, picked up his fourth foul with 9:42 remaining but avoided picking up a fifth.

In the second half, Benson knocked down four of his six 3-pointers on the night and Schaefer buried two of his three treys. Riley added three 3-pointers during the evening as the Comets knocked down 12 threes.

Schaefer also finished in double figures in the scoring column with 14 points.

Palomar shot 67.9 percent from the field in the second half and 55.2 percent for the game. The Comets made 7-of-10 treys after intermission.

The game went down to the final 3 and 1/2 minutes. Schaefer scored a 2-pointer with 3:29 remaining to tie the game at 75 points apiece, and the Comts added a Benson 3-pointer, a Duniphan lay-up, a Schaefer 3-pointer, two free throws by Riley and a final free throw by Schaefer with 2.9 seconds left down the stretch.


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