After a double-digit comeback, the Lancers menâ€™s basketball team was defeated by a last-second three pointer by El Camino College, losing 71-70 on Feb. 6.
The Lancers were losing by 12 points with 17 minutes remaining in the second half and finally retook the lead with 5:45 left in the game. PCC sophomore guard Chris Smith drove to the basket and put the Lancers up 70-68 with 3.8 seconds remaining. The loudest Hutto-Patterson Gym crowd in recent memory was instantly quelled by El Camino Collegeâ€™s Joshua Wilson, who hit a game-winning three point shot.
â€œThe kids came back and fought hard but it wasnâ€™t enough,â€ Lancers Head Coach Mike Swanegan Sr. said.
The Lancers fall to 7-15 on the season and 3-6 in South Coast Conference play. El Camino improves to 7-13 with a similar 3-6 conference record.
A bright spot for the Lancers is the return of point guard Smith, who provided 15 points. Smith, who had been unable to play for weeks due to a knee injury, was cleared by Lancers trainer Alfonso Flores and played over 20 minutes in the narrow loss.
â€œIâ€™m just happy to see [Chris] back on the court,â€ Flores said. â€œWeâ€™ll continue to rehab his knee for the next few weeks, but his progress has been great. It showed tonight.â€
Smith did not expect to play as long as he did, nor did Coach Swanegan intend to play him for that long, but the necessities of the game demanded it.
â€œYou never know how long you can play a kid coming off of an injury,â€ Swanegan said. â€œWe trusted Chris with the ball and he played an excellent game.â€
Smith wanted the focus to be on the team itself, not his return.
â€œWe wanted to get movement early and make their defense work,â€ Smith said. â€œWe had a good comeback and played tough but it wasnâ€™t enough. This is a tough way to lose.â€
The Lancersâ€™ bench players outscored the starters 47-23. PCC was kept in the game by sophomore forward Marquise Tolsonâ€™s ten points, sophomore shooting guard Evan Brooksâ€™ nine points, and freshman forward Bryce Cliftonâ€™s seven points, including a breakaway dunk that energized the entire arena during PCCâ€™s comeback drive.
â€œMomentum is an important thing,â€ Swanegan said. â€œWe picked up the pace of the game and made some stops to get the momentum but there isnâ€™t much you can do when the other team makes a shot like that.â€
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