Late game turnovers proved to be critical as the Lancers men’s basketball team lost its second consecutive conference game, 78-75, against host Long Beach City College.
“Turnovers at the end of the game really hurt us,” head coach Michael Swanegan said. “We have to concentrate and stay focused on our game plan.”
Vikings sophomore guard Kristien Owens put a dagger into the Lancers with a desperation 3-point bomb with 1.2 seconds remaining in the game.
“He made a lucky shot, but it shouldn’t have come down to the last second,” sophomore guard Jevon Shields said. “There was a lot we could’ve done to prevent the close game. We have to remain focused and come together as a team and not worry about individual statistics.”
Despite shooting 52 percent from the floor, the state No. 15-ranked Lancers committed 19 turnovers in the South Coast Conference defeat. With the defeat the Lancers (17-7, 5-3) dropped out of first place in the SCC North Division behind East Los Angeles College.
“Turnovers were a big factor in the Long Beach game,” Shields added. “We had three crucial turnovers in the last few minutes of the game that really hurt us in the end. We beat ourselves.”
The Lancers tied the game, 75-75, on a layup by sophomore forward Taj Spencer with 16 seconds left. Spencer heated up in the second half for the Lancers, scoring 16 of his game-high 22 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Jeffrey Dockett added 15 points and five assists and sophomore reserve forward Bryce Clifton tallied 10 points in defeat.
“We have to take better control of the ball,” sophomore forward Taj Spencer said. “We should have won (against LBCC) but turnovers really hurt us.”
Freshman guard Adrian Miles sank three 3-pointers for nine points and sophomore forward Rashad Smith contributed seven points and four assists off the bench for the Lancers.
“We made too many mistakes down the stretch that cost us the victory,” Swanegan added. “The game was clearly in our grasp. We can’t make mistakes against good ball clubs and expect to win.”
For Long Beach (15-7, 7-1 and co-leader of the SCC South Division), Brandon Staton scored 16 points, Elijah Gaines had 14 points, and Owens added 12 points off the bench.
The Lancers host Los Angeles Harbor College on Wednesday, Feb. 5 in the team’s Coaches vs. Cancer event. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium.