University gets defensive and tops San Clemente 71-68 in Gary Raya Classic; faces Woodbridge Wednesday (video, other game highlights)

University’s boys basketball team kept rolling Tuesday night with a 71-68 victory over San Clemente in a hard fought first round game of the So Cal Elite Gary Raya Classic at Woodbridge.

The Trojans (5-1) advance into the championship second round Wednesday, Dec. 13, against Pacific Coast League rival Woodbridge at 7 p.m. at University.

Senior guard Alex Bray led the Trojans with 27 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter.

It didn’t start out too well for University, which trailed early, 20-6 and 22-11 after one quarter. But the Trojans started hitting shots and their full-court press, which forced 22 turnovers, turned the game around.

“We had seven turnovers against the zone and we were 1 for our first 9 on three’s, but our kids are tough and I knew we were going to come back,” said University Coach Mike Dinneen. “We made it a game at halftime and now it’s just a question of can we get leads.

“And we got a couple of leads and we forced turnovers, but we just couldn’t convert on the turnovers. But we played pretty well down the stretch, except for the very end where we missed some free throws but our kids were pretty tough. The press was real effective for us. We had 16 steals.”

Jackson Muniz (12 points, four 3-pointers and four steals) and Kevin Yahampath (11 points, 12 assists) also had solid games for the Trojans, who outscored San Clemente 19-16 in the final quarter.

University had 15 offensive rebounds.

“They’re a big team and they’re tough to play against, but I think we eventually kind of wore them down a little bit and they got tired, so that’s a real good win; that’s two good wins in a row for us against two pretty good programs in Newport (Harbor) and San Clemente,” Dinneen said. “It’s a tough tournament.”

“We’re 5-1 and hopefully we can carry that on to some more victories this week.”

San Clemente (5-3) was led by Josh Walker (12 points) and Jacob Nemeth (11 points).

ALSO ON TUESDAY NIGHT IN THE RAYA CLASSIC:

Woodbridge 69, Esperanza 66: Sebastian Momdjian hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift the Warriors, who handed Esperanza (7-1) its first loss. Woodbridge (3-5) also got strong efforts from Jacob Nash (14 points) and Daniel Thatcher (13 points).

Esperanza was led by Brendan Harrick (19 points) and Julian Almazan (12 points).

(A full report on this game later).

Beckman 61, Yorba Linda 59 (overtime): Dylan Thorner led Beckman with 17 points. Charlie Lee had 13 points and Aaron Chen 11 points. Kourosh Khandan hit the game winning tip with four seconds left in overtime to win it.

Nick Murrell had 32 points and sank nine 3-pointers to lead Yorba Linda.

Northwood 66, Huntington Beach 47: Jacob Huynh scored 19 points, Damian Pinto scored 14 points and Devin Owens scored 12 points to lead the Timberwolves, who will face Tustin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at El Dorado High.

Tustin 63, El Dorado 62 (two overtimes): Tustin was led by Isaiah Gonzalez, who scored 24 points and made five 3-pointers and scored the game-winning basket with 15 seconds left. Brian Ramirez scored 19 points for the Tillers. El Dorado was led by Ryen Perry, who had 15 points and made three 3-pointers.

JSerra 82, Irvine 48: DJ Rodman scored 18 points to lead JSerra while Kyle Anderson scored 14 points to lead Irvine.

(Information for highlights provided by OC Varsity).

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