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Sound Ball Control, 10 Treys Spark Men's Hoops To First SCC Win

Sound Ball Control, 10 Treys Spark Men's Hoops To First SCC Win image

Since things already were at its lowest for the Pasadena City College men's basketball team, the Lancers had no place to go but up. On Wednesday night, the Lancers ended a 10-game losing streak and entered the win column for the first time in South Coast Conference play with a 75-71 victory over host Los Angeles Harbor College.

The Lancers (6-14, 1-6 in SCC play) netted 10 of 22 shots from 3-point range and had a season low in turnovers committed with just nine. PCC also stopped a hot Harbor squad (10-11 overall) that lost for only the second time in seven conference games.

PCC had several key contributors, maybe the most influential being freshman point guard Antwain Cleary. The 5-foot-7, 140-pound Cleary (from Denby High, Michigan) had been barely visible in PCC's slump, having lost his starting job due to shaky ballhandling. Cleary came off the bench early in the first half, and never came off the floor. He scored his season-high of 12 points and dished out seven assists. Cleary, who sank 3-of-4 on long-range shots from the top of the circle, also didn't commit a turnover in more than 32 minutes of play.

Cleary (pictured) also put the game away with three free throws in the final 31 seconds that gave PCC breathing room at the finish.

The teams traded 11 lead changes and four ties. A 15-2 run gave the Lancers a 25-16 lead, then the team would go on an 11-0 run capped by Michael Swanegan's layup for a 42-33 advantage. Harbor cut it to 44-38 by halftime.

The first half featured sizzling 3-point shooting from forward Evan Brooks, who scored 17 of his team-high 19 points in the period. Brooks made five straight treys, including two that became 4-point plays as he was fouled on those shots and converted the extra free throw. Sophomore center Marcus Harvey added all nine of his points in the half.

In the second half, Harbor's box-and-1 defense kept Brooks in check, but allowed Cleary to free up on shots from the top of the key. Cleary scored nine of his points in the period while transfer forward Josh Johnson attacked the inside. Johnson had 13 points and seven rebounds in the final 20 minutes alone to garner a double-double with 17 points and 10 boards.

With 7:52 left, Harbor earned its last lead, 61-59, on a pair of free throws by Dennis Hardwell. At that point, PCC's defense clamped down while the Lancers slowly took control. A 3-point bomb by reserve guard Derrell Wallace gave Pasadena a 64-61 lead with 7:10 remaining. 

As the Seahawks threatened, PCC made two key baskets at the end of the shot clock to maintain the lead. The first was with four minutes when reserve forward Tyler James made an offensive rebound off a missed shot by Wallace and, while in the air, placed in the put-back to make it 68-63. Wallace accomplished an almost identical play with 1:45 to go as his rebound and basket came at the shot clock buzzer following a missed rim attempt by Brooks. That allowed the Lancers to stay in control at 70-67.

After Harbor cut it to 70-69, Johnson busted through the lane and made a driving layup with 49.3 seconds left to again give PCC the upper hand at 72-69.

"Everything we did wrong in our losing streak, we did right tonight," said PCC Head Coach Mike Swanegan. "We haven't been handling the ball well and we weren't making threes. The guys took care of the ball and we were hitting the open outside shots. We also converted our free throws (13-of-17, .765).  The confidence level for our squad just went up tenfold. We've played some close losses, but this time we made the extra effort in the final few minutes."

Harbor lost despite big performances from Marlin Ramos, who made his first seven shots from the floor as part of his 23 points and 14 rebounds, and Hardwell, who was a menace on the offensive boards with 11 as he totaled 22 points and 16 rebounds. Like PCC, the Seahawks shot well from 3-point range, making 9 of 20 attempts.

Pasadena looks for two straight wins when it hosts El Camino College on Friday, Jan. 28. Tip-off is 7 p.m. (following the women's game at 5 p.m.) at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium.

Release Date: 01/27/11
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
Phone: 626-585-7018, Email:


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