When the Pasadena City College men's basketball team first met state No. 3-ranked East Los Angeles, the result was a program downer. The Lancers suffered their worst loss of the season by 30 points against the talented Huskies. Looking for an easy time again on Friday at PCC, ELAC learned the hosts were not allowing for "showtime" or the cameras of Last Chance U for that matter.
While East LA came away with its 21st consecutive victory, 86-78, as Pasadena kept the Huskies nervous for most of the 40 minutes. PCC grabbed a 28-25 lead on a 3-pointer by Patric Panoosi and trailed by just two at halftime, 34-32. In the second half, it took a former Lancer in Joseph Hampton, a Huskies transfer who played 13 games for the 2017-18 PCC team, to give ELAC a boost. Hampton scored 11 of his 19 points over the last 20 minutes.
PCC fell behind by 10, then tied it at 60-60 on another Panoosi trey wih 6:46 left. ELAC answered with a 3-pointer by Deshaun Highler, a put-back basket by Hampton, and another triple by Jordan Polynice. The Lancers cut it to 68-65 on a three by Rasheet Wilson. The Huskies used seven free throws over the final few minutes to keep their lead and leave PCC knowing the Lancers had played them well.
Pasadena dropped to 12-14 overall and 3-3 in the South Coast Conference North Division while East LA upped its record to 25-1 and a perfect 6-0, clinching at least a tie for the division title. Wilson scored 25 points, Panoosi 14 points (four treys), and sophomore forward Deandro Worrell collected 12 points and 10 rebounds. Mike Harris added nine points off the bench and Dominick Erby seven points and eight assists.
ELAC's Kealen Allen totaled game highs with 25 points and 15 boards to go with four assists and four steals.
On Feb. 12, the Lancers relied on a tremendous individual performance by the sophomore transfer Erby, who scored a season-high 24 points with eight assists, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks in a 94-82 win at Rio Hondo. Erby converted 12-for-13 at the free throw line and PCC was 21-of-23 overall at the stripe (91.3 percent). Six Lancers scored in double digits with Panoosi netting 16, letterman guard London Benford 12 points with 12 rebounds and six assists, frosh forward Gabriel Ajemian 12 points off the bench, Wilson with 11 points and Worrell 10 points, 13 rebounds and six assists.
Tied 39-39 early in the second half, PCC took control with a 10-2 run capped by a Wilson jumper. A dunk by Worrell gave the Lancers their biggest lead at 24 points, 80-56, with just under five minutes remaining.
This week, the Lancers will close out the 2019-20 season as they host LA Trade Tech on Coaches v. Cancer Night at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium (Wednesday, Feb. 19, 7 p.m.) and travel to face Mt. San Antonio on Friday, Feb. 21 (7 p.m. tip-off).