The Big 8 Conference is always a bear, and the Vikings men's basketball team showed its mettle splitting games in the first week of conference play.
The Vikings (13-4, 1-1) opened with a 69-59 loss against formidable Sam Joaquin Delta, and then emerged with a nail-biting 70-69 win over host American River.
Floor pilot Rodney Pope continues to play well, and Jovontae Carelton got hot in the second half against ARC.
And the big tests keep coming. DVC is at the Santa Rosa Bear Cubs (11-5, 2-0) on Tuesday and then will return at home against Sierra (7-9, 2-0) Friday.
DVC coach Steve Coccimiglio, who was out ill for the loss to Delta, called the win over ARC "big." He did not want to fall to 0-2 in conference after entering the Big 8 on a seven-game winning streak highlighted by a triumph over powerful Antelope Valley in the Chabot Classic.
"It was our best game of the year," Coccimiglio said of the win over Antelope.
Against ARC, DVC trailed 38-34 in the back-and-forth contest and made big shots to pull ahead. Things got hairy in the final seconds as ARC hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 70-69, and then made an apparent basket that was waived off because it came just after the final buzzer.
Against Delta, Pope had 15 points, Careltpn had 12 and Eric Nielsen had 10, but the Vikings shot just 35.6 percent from the floor (21 for 59) and 21.7 percent from 3-point range (5 for 23).
Santa Rosa, the early Big 8 co-leader, is coming off wins over American River 75-54 and Cosumnes River 74-66. Erik Poulsen had a double-double against Cosumnes River with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Justin Frazier and Keil Long had 17 points apiece. Poulsen had 19 against ARC.