Clarence Campbell, arguably IVC's best player, sat out the entire contest for disciplinary reasons. Eric Estrada was not at the game and both Herles Atchison and Marvin Williams did not come out for the second half. Frustration may have gotten the best of Williams as two turnovers, a foul and a technical foul in the final four minutes of the first half brought him out of the game.
Both Estrada and Atchison provided no excuse for their absences.
Still, the Arabs fought hard for the better part of the game. The teams went back-and-forth in the first 10 minutes with neither gaining more than a five-point edge. While the Knights' quickness led to several inside baskets, with nine points coming from point guard Zack Jones, the Arabs countered with an excellent display of rebounding and long-range jumpers.
IVC forged ahead 17-14 on a trey by Alonzo Blackman and a jumper by T.J. Brunson and, after back-to-back three-pointers by Jones, knotted the game at 20-20 on a three-pointer by Brunson. Another burst, which ended with a three-pointer by Winston Young, pushed the Arabs ahead 28-26 with just under four minutes remaining in the half.
San Diego City held IVC scoreless for the rest of the half while scoring 11 points, five from Swedish-import Mats Persson, for a 37-28 halftime lead.
"We had a couple miscues on defense, we gave up some offensive rebounds late and we weren't hitting our shots," said Young, who led the Arabs with 19 points.
Young opened the second half with his third three-pointer to cut the lead to six, but the Knights followed with an 8-2 run. IVC came back with a 7-2 burst, making the score 48-40, but again San Diego City responded. The Knights pushed in front 57-40 and looked to have the momentum for the final six minutes. IVC, though, had other plans.
Four Arabs scored in an 11-0 tear over the next two minutes, cutting the deficit to 57-51 with 3:52 to go. The push proved exhausting for IVC, however, as a fresh and deep Knight squad put on one more run of its own, this time a game-sealing 12-6 burst.
"We played as a team and we had a lot of fun out there tonight," said Young, who had six rebounds. "We did everything right but we didn't have enough energy toward the end."
The Arabs fell to 3-18 overall and 0-11 in the PCC with three games remaining. San Diego City improved to 13-10 and 8-3 in the PCC and is in second place. IVC next plays at San Diego Mesa at 7 p.m. Saturday before returning home for its final two games in PCC play.
"I think we'll get someone," Gehler said. "Our last two games are on our floor and we're going to get one of them."