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Men's Basketball Soars To 103-74 Win Over Compton

Men's Basketball Soars To 103-74 Win Over Compton image

It's been a while since the Pasadena City College men's basketball team advanced to the Southern California Regional Playoffs. In fact, the Lancers haven't been to the postseason since the 2003-2004 season. But the 2011-2012 Lancers, a squad with 10 freshmen and just two sophomores, are starting to create a buzz around campus.

A rebuilding year for head coach Mike Swanegan's Lancers instead has turned into a season of promise. On Wednesday night, PCC exploded for a season high in points and decimated El Camino College-Compton Center, 103-74, in a South Coast Conference game at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium. It was Swanegan's 50th coaching victory at PCC (167 in 13 community college seasons).

The victory pushed the Lancers record to 10-8 overall and 2-1 in the SCC North Division. PCC has an important contest Friday, Jan. 13 when it travels to play East Los Angeles College in a 7 p.m. conference tip-off. With Mt. San Antonio establishing itself as the team to beat in the division, the Lancers and Swanegan feel second place is well within reach as well as a playoff seed.

"The players are starting to buy in to what we are coaching," Swanegan said. "We have more size than we've had in some previous seasons. Tonight, we played a small Compton team, but we forced them to match-up to our taller lineup rather than the other way around. We really controlled the boards, especially in the second half. We got off to a great start by hitting our 3s."

PCC made 10 of 15 shots from beyond the 3-point circle to help the team take a 51-38 halftime lead. Current South Coast Conference leading scorer and PCC sophomore guard Givon Crump rained in five 3s in the half and nearly had a double-double by the intermission with 21 points and nine rebounds. Crump finished with team bests in points (24) and rebounds with 12. He upped his scoring average to 19.6 points per game.

Other Lancers with big contributions included transfer point guard Jerrick Thomas, who scored 14 points and dished out a season-high 12 assists. Thomas made the type of play that has been indicative of the Lancers' relentless defensive pressure against opponents of late. With four minutes left and PCC defending its basket, he dove to the floor to wrestle away a loose ball from Compton guard Daraye Foote. Thomas immediately got to his feet, turned the steal into a fast break and fired a pass to Alec Tatum for an ensuing layup.

While Thomas and Crump have been the team's top players, the freshmen turned in strong efforts, including guard Marquise Tolson, who scored 16 points and sank three straight 3-pointers to start the game. Reserve forward Rashad Smith (Mountain View High) added 13 points and 10 rebounds in just 12 minutes of action. Tatum, a frosh forward, came off the bench to add 10 points and six rebounds.

Center Lorelle Martin contributed six points and 11 rebounds while forward Laik Carter (Fairfax High) had eight points and six boards. Guard Chris Smith (Monrovia High), the hero of the Lancers' win over LA Trade-Tech on Jan. 6, chipped in seven points.

Late in the game, the crowd went wild when seldom-used guard Georges Laguerre hit consecutive baskets, including a trey. Rashad Smith's layup off a Laguerre (South Hills High) assist allowed the Lancers to reach the century mark for the first time since Nov. 26, 2010 when they routed American Sports University, 106-58. It was the fourth time under Swanegan's watch (fifth season at PCC), the team scored more than 100 points and ninth time since 1997 that a Lancers' team scored in triple digits.

Compton (7-10, 0-2 in SCC play) was led by Foote with 25 points. The Tartars had a miserable night at the free throw line, missing 18 of 30 attempts. Pasadena shot 50 percent from the floor (37-of-74) and 50 percent on 3s (11-for-22).

The Lancers snapped a 5-game losing streak against Compton dating back to Jan. 3, 2009, and a 7-game losing string at home v. the Tartars. PCC beat Compton in Jan., 2004 and then lost to the Tartars in its very last playoff game--a second round regional that season at the HP Gym. Compton went on to win the state title.

[Photo--Givon Crump drives to the basket during PCC's 103-74 win over Compton Wednesday night, image by Richard Quinton.]

Release Date: 01/11/12
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
Phone: 626-585-7018, Email: rmlewis@pasadena.edu