SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - San Marcos gave up nine straight points and the lead to start the fourth quarter but Aidan Mandel had the finishing touch as the Royals edged Dos Pueblos 54-49 in a back-and-forth Channel League game.
Leading by 1 with 28 seconds left the Royals inbounded the ball inside to Mandel who made the layup and was fouled with 22.8 seconds left.
Mandel completed the three-point play to put the Royals in control as they improved to 2-0 in league.
Shakir Ahmad led San Marcos with 17 points and Mandel added 15.
Trailing 40-34 after three quarters Dos Pueblos took a 41-40 lead on a three-pointer by Grant Hughes who led the Chargers with 17 points.
Moments later Joaquin Riker stole the ball and drove in for a layup to complete a 9-0 run and give DP a 43-40 lead with 5:30 left.
From there each team hit big shot after big shot.
Micah Jacobi tied the game at 43 with a three-pointer only to see Joe Talarico answer back with a 3-pointer of his own to put the Chargers up 46-43 with 3:15 to go.
Jacobi sank a short baseline jumper at the 2-minute mark to give San Marcos a 47-46 advantage.
Riker tied the game at 48 on a runner with under 1:30 to play.
Jaden Reyes' free throw with 28 seconds left gave San Marcos a 49-48 lead.
He missed the second free throw and the rebound went out of bounds off of Dos Pueblos setting the stage for Mandel's big three-point play.
The student section at the Thunderhut rushed the floor after the Royals win.
It was a loud crowd but not at capacity due to COVID-19.