Lack of depth on its bench continues to haunt the Rio Hondo College men's basketball team. For the third time over their last five games, the six suited up Roadrunners couldn't hang on to a second-half lead and on Wednesday night, it was El Camino College that rallied late to hand Rio Hondo a 92-82 defeat in Whittier.
Thanks to a 15-4 run over the final six minutes of the first half, Rio Hondo erased a six-point El Camino advantage to go into the break leading 43-38.
The second half was a back-and-forth battle between the two squads. Rio Hondo held its final lead of the contest, up 69-66 with 5:31 to play after a layup by Jonathan Martinez. But a 10-0 El Camino run over the next three minutes put the Warriors ahead for good. Kevin Sandoval's bucket with 2:35 left got the Roadrunners within four points late (77-73), but Rio Hondo would get no closer.
Martinez led all with a game-high 22 points. He made 5 of 9 shots and was 11 for 13 from the free throw line and had 4 assists and 4 steals. Bryant Howing added 19 points and 4 rebounds while Elijah McElroy totaled 15 points and 5 rebounds.
The South Coast Conference interdivision loss dropped Rio Hondo to 3-14 overall. The Roadrunners return to action on Friday (Jan. 18) when they travel to L.A. Southwest College for a 6 p.m. SCC crossover game.