Sports in the News
Giant Comeback Allows Men's Hoops 1st Place To Itself
Rallying from 20 points down in the first half, the Pasadena City College men's basketball team earned an 84-77 triumph over visiting El Camino College Compton Center on Wednesday. In the process, the Lancers have taken over sole possession of first place in the South Coast Conference North Division.
PCC (16-5 overall) had been tied with Compton and East Los Angeles for the divison top spot going into the evening's play. The Lancers stand alone at 4-1, one game ahead of ELAC and Compton.
The Lancers, rated No. 12 in Southern California but not among the state top 20, played a tale of two halves with the Tartars (7-12, 3-2), a squad that had won three straight games coming into the contest.
Compton hit a sizzling 59 percent from the floor, making 20 of 34 shots, to jump out to a 41-21 lead with 2:33 left in the first half. The Tartars went on a 26-6 run as Wesly Harris hit three 3-pointers as part of his 15 points in the opening period.
PCC slowly moved back into the game, cutting it to 14 by halftime, 45-31. In the second half, the Lancers turned things around with a pressure defense that forced turnovers, and the sharp shooting of their sophomore tandem of guard Jeffrey Dockett and forward Taj Spencer.
Dockett started firing from the outside, sinking three treys, while Spencer worked the inside with layups and short jumpers. With 4:05 left, the Lancers had completed the 20-point rally with a Spencer offensive rebound and slam that gave PCC a 70-69 lead. The pair combined for 34 points in the half, Dockett scoring 20 of his game-high 31 points.
In those last 20 minutes, the Lancers matched Compton's first-half numbers, making 19 of 33 shots from the floor for a 58 percent accuracy. PCC also sank 11 of 14 from the free throw line (14-of-17 overall, 82.4 percent).
Spencer finished with a double-double, 20 points (9-for-13 from the floor) and 10 rebounds. Frosh guard Adrian Miles added 14 points. Starting guard Jevon Shields didn't score a point, but provided play-making and defense. Shields dished out eight assists, grabbed five rebounds and made four of the team's 14 steals.
Sophomore forward Bryce Clifton contributed eight points and three steals off the bench while starting freshman center Faruk Oyalade chipped in seven points and five rebounds, most of his production over the final seven minutes of the game. Another reserve, first-year guard Jonathan Henderson, also made some noise and totaled two points, four assists, and six rebounds.
For Compton, Ray Foote led five players in double digits with 24 points (plus 10 assists). The Tartars lost despite making 50 percent from the 3-point circle (8-for-16). Harris had 17 points, but ony two in the second half. Luis Engleton registered 15 points and 13 rebounds.
PCC head coach Michael Swanegan talked about his team's current occupation of first place.
"We seem to rise to the occasion in the second half of games," he said. "We've had more than a few times where we fell behind by 10 or even 15 points, but we have responded well to those challenges. The North side of the SCC is a war right now and we got through that first round winning four. Right now, we've earned our first place spot."
The Lancers begin a five-game trek against South Division teams Friday, Jan. 24 when they play at El Camino College (Torrance). All five of those cross-division games count toward the conference standings race. Tip-off is 5 p.m.
[Photo--Jeffrey Dockett starts a fast break with teammates Faruk Oyalade (far left) and Adrian Miles (right) joining the play during PCC's win at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium Wednesday evening, image by Richard Quinton, sports information photographer.]
Release Date: 01/23/14