Needing a win on the road to close the first half of the conference season on a high note, the Columbia College men's basketball team was clutch Wednesday.
Rajwayne Palmer led four players in double figures as the Claim Jumpers beat host Porterville 87-82, keeping the Pirates winless in the Central Valley Conference.
Palmer had 20 points, including four 3-pointers. Columbia (6-18, 2-4 CVC) went 17-for-19 at the free throw line, led by Marcus Cendro's 5-for-5 effort. He had 16 points and eight assists. Brandon Brockmire added eight points and 10 rebounds.
Columbia plays host to Fresno City on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Claim Jumpers play four of their remaining six games at home.
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MERCED 64, REEDLEY 55, at Reedley -- Julius Cheeks led the Blue Devils with 20 points. Edwin Opoku -- in his third game since returning from a broken hand -- scored 14 points as Merced (7-15, 2-4 CVC) stopped a four-game skid.
FRESNO CITY 78, MERCED 65, at Merced -- It's not often a team shoots almost 50 percent from the field and loses by 15 points. But it was that kind of night for the Blue Devils.
A 10-minute loll by Merced to close the first half was all Northern California No. 1 Fresno City needed. The Rams (26-2, 4-0 CVC) turned a two-point game into a 17-point halftime lead and never looked back.
Led by Jhinnae Clark (14 points) and Tiara Dunson (10), Merced (16-11, 3-1 CVC) got 36 points from its bench. Kenyatta Harper added 13 points and three steals.
Merced Sun-Star writer Shawn Lynch contributed to this report.