For many teams, the regular season is just one long preparation for the pressure of the playoffs.
As such, making free throws and winning close game are seen as learning experiences to build upon - more so than winning a blowout against a weaker opponent.
And Saturday night, the San Bernardino Valley College men's basketball team got that lesson Saturday night in the semifinals of the Alvin Hunter Classic, as the Wolverines battled from a three-point halftime deficit to beat East Los Angeles College 72-70.
SBVC took it to the Huskies in the second half, driving inside against the ELAC defense and quickly getting into the bonus. The Wolverines took advantage of their time at the free throw line, going to the charity stripe 24 times in the half, making 19 of their shots, compared to only ELAC, which went 11-for-18 in the second half from the free throw line.
The Wolverines were able to open up a 10-point lead in the second half, but the Huskies were able to chip away down the stretch, pulling back within two in the final seconds. They had one last chance, but Dezmond Washington's three-point attempt was blocked by Chester Makoi, and a last desperation heave missed the mark, securing the Wolverines' win.
Dominque Daniels led the way for SBVC, scoring 10 of his 18 points from the free throw line. Brandon Thompson and Mubarek Michael each added 12 points as the Wolverines had eight players score points in the game.
ELAC's Brandon Wilson led all scorers with 24 points, while Tyrell Hunt added 21 for the Huskies.
SBVC will play West Los Angeles in the championship game Sunday at 6 p.m.