STOCKTON — All Spencer Monteiro needed to hear was a coach yelling "go!" from the bench to make his mind up to shoot.
The 6-foot-6 forward Monteiro lowered his shoulder, rose up and drilled the game-winning bank shot as Delta College men's basketball nipped American River 85-83 Friday night at Blanchard Gym.
"I just heard one of my coaches from the bench say, 'go,'" said Monteiro, a sophomore from Lodi High who tallied 21 points, six rebounds, four assists and three blocks, "so I just went for it."
In the nightcap, the Delta women topped American River 79-67 to remain unbeaten in Big 8 Conference play.
The Mustangs (13-5, 5-1 Big 8) implemented a full-court press once they fell behind by double digits and it paid off instantaneously. Gray contributed a pair of tough buckets, including a gritty putback, and a Monteiro layup tied the Beavers at 70.
"I don't think they were really expecting it. He got that wide open layup and then got another one," Delta forward Cameron Pieters said of Gray. "Those offensive rebounds really helped us."
After Monteiro tied it, sophomore guard Jimmy Beltz grabbed a rebound off an ARC miss, raced to the other end and buried a 3-pointer to cap a 13-0 run and capture the lead.
The Mustangs wouldn't trail again, but the Beavers made the waning moments incredibly uncomfortable.
Delta's Jakobi Ford had a shot goaltended with 1:20 left to boost the Mustangs' lead to five. But ARC's Tommy Edwards knocked down a double-clutch jumper as he was fouled and made the free throw.
That cut the Mustang lead to 83-81 with 1:03 left, and on the next possession, ARC's Parker Haven knocked away a Monteiro pass to force a turnover. Tommy Edwards then scored on a putback to tie it, setting up Monteiro's moment with 20 seconds remaining.
On Delta's final defensive possession, Monteiro said the focus was to keep the ball away from Haven — who had 18 points along with Edwards and L.J. Smith.
Delta — ranked No. 9 in the latest Northern California poll — is seeking its first Big 8 banner in a decade.
Pieters posted a game-high 22 points, Beltz added 16 points with four 3s and Ford pitched in 10 off the bench. Valverde tallied six points, seven assists and six rebounds.
"He's very competitive and an even better person," Delta coach Rich Ressa said of Valverde.
Ressa feels that way about Monteiro, who scored 17 of his 21 points in the first half but did not crumble in the clutch after a long quiet stretch.
"He's really grown up," Ressa said, "and I'm proud of the guy and the player he is."