News: Home Gym Not Friendly To Men's Hoops
The Pasadena City College men's basketball team will hit the road next week for its final two South Coast Conference games of the 2013-14 season. Even if the Lancers make the postseason, chances are likely they will not be playing at home. And maybe it's a blessing for this PCC team, a squad that lost for the third straight time at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium Friday against visiting Mt. San Antonio, 74-51.
PCC (18-9 overall) fell out of first place in the SCC North Division race as the resurgent Mounties (14-9), the defending CCCAA state champions, moved into a second place tie with the Lancers, both at 6-5. East Los Angeles (18-7, 7-4) currently stands in first place after defeating LA Trade Tech Friday.
Rated No. 15 in the SoCal poll, the Lancers are 5-5 at their home gym, and just 2-4 in conference games. Away from the HP facility, the team has a sparkling 13-4 record and 4-1 mark in conference meetings.
Against Mt. SAC, just as it had v. LA Harbor the week before, PCC reached the 10-minute mark having scored less than 10 points (eight v. the Mounties, six v. Harbor). By halftime, the Lancers trailed 38-25.
In the second half, PCC had opportunities to get back into the game, but went stone cold at the free throw line, missing at one stretch a mind-boggling 10 consecutive attempts. By game's end, the team shot below 50 percent from the line (16 of 34 converted).
The only Lancer to reach double figures was sophomore forward Taj Spencer, who scored a game-high 28 points. In the first half, Spencer poured in 17 and made his last six straight shots from the field. Overall, the conference-leading scoring Spencer also topped the team in rebounds (seven), assists (four) and blocks (three). In fact, Spencer was involved via pass or shot in 13 of the team's 17 total field goals made. He dropped in 9-for-15 and the rest of the team just 8-for-32 (25 percent).
Mt. SAC's zone defense flustered the Lancers as did the play of Stephaun Branch, who scored 17 points and pulled down an impressive 19 rebounds. Branch did most of his damage in the second half, scoring 14 and grabbing 13 boards while making a perfect 8-for-8 from the line. Daniel Thompson led the Mounties in scoring with 18 points.
PCC head coach Michael Swanegan honored his sophomores prior to the game with a ceremony to appreciate the play of two-year lettermen Jeffrey Dockett, Rashad Smith, Bryce Clifton and Spencer, who is at 470 points in his only season for the Lancers. Spencer is a transfer from Mt. SAC.
The Lancers will travel to face LA Trade Tech on Wednesday, Feb. 19 and then close out the regular season on Friday, Feb. 21 at El Camino College-Compton Center. Both SCC games have 7 p.m. tip-offs following the women's contests.
[Photo--Lancer Taj Spencer figures out one of the few ways PCC could score Friday with this thundering dunk during the Lancers loss to Mt. SAC, image by Richard Quinton, sports information photographer.]
Release Date: 02/15/2014