The No. 15 ranked men’s basketball team displayed its offensive prowess this holiday weekend as they hosted the PCC Kennedy Thanksgiving Classic.
In their first game of the tournament Friday, the Lancers defeated Occidental College’s Junior Varsity team in a 101-60 blowout. The Tigers were outmatched all game, only connecting on 28 percent of their field goals.
The Lancers were led by sophomore forward Taj Spencer who contributed 20 points, five rebounds and three blocks. Sophomore forward Bryce Clifton returned from an early season ankle injury with 14 points and three assists off the bench.
Head coach Michael Swanegan is slowly working Clifton back into rotation and admitted that the forward was not at full strength despite his production off the bench.
“He’s not fully 100 percent but he’s getting there,” Swanegan said. “We’re working him back in rotation slowly and he played well against Occidental.”
The Lancers’ shot an efficient 58 percent from the field against the Tigers, led by Clifton’s perfect 7-for-7 field goals. Spencer was also impressive from the field, connecting on 9-of-12.
“Overall we had a good tournament,” Swanegan said. “We ran into a buzz-saw in San Bernardino again, but our kids played hard and we had an opportunity to go undefeated in the tournament.”
Five players scored in double figures for the Lancers, including sophomore point guard Jeffrey Dockett who recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 assists. Freshman guard Brandon Joseph added 10 points and 6 rebounds and freshman guard Adrian Miles added 11 points in his first start of the season.
In their second game of the tournament the Lancers again eclipsed the century mark in a 101-80 victory over Barstow Community College.
Dockett led the Lancers to victory against the Vikings with 28 points, seven assists and four steals. Dockett shot an impressive 10-of-17 from the field and connected on a season-high five 3-point field goals.
“He (Dockett) played great against Barstow,” Spencer said. “When he’s hitting the three-pointer he can hit it all day. I have faith in my shooters and he brings the outside presence for us.”
Against BCC the Lancers were once again efficient, connecting on 49 percent of their shots. Spencer, again efficient around the basket, added 24 points. Joseph added 17 points (8-for-12 shooting), seven rebounds and five assists and Miles continued his all-around efforts with 13 points, six rebounds and five assists.
“AJ (Miles) is a good asset to this team,” Dockett said. “He brings a lot of energy off the bench, and now with him in the starting lineup he’s been knocking down his open shots and I love playing with him and feeding him the ball.”
In their final game of the tournament the Lancers (6-3) ran into familiar foe San Bernardino Valley College (7-2). Earlier this season it was the Wolverines who defeated the Lancers in the “Alvin Hunter Classic”. On Sunday, the Wolverines once again came up victorious, snapping the Lancers’ four-game winning streak 68-60.
“With three minutes remaining it was still anyone’s game,” Swanegan said. “We were up at halftime and they just made some plays at the end and we did not.”
At halftime the Lancers led 34-30 and extended their lead to 41-36 with 14:08 remaining in the second half, but could not contain SBVC. The Wolverines went on a 21-6 second half run that the Lancers could not come back from.
“We have to execute,” Spencer added. “We can’t be a championship team if we don’t execute.”
Spencer recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 19 points and 12 rebounds in defeat. Freshman center Faruk Oyalade had one of his best performances of the season with 15 points. Miles remained consistent for the Lancers with 12 points and four rebounds.
“Our bench has to step up,” Dockett said. “We had some starters playing big minutes and when we get production from the bench we’re a very good team.”
The men’s basketball team will have the next week off as they get ready for the Santa Barbara Tournament. The Lancers play Victory Valley in the opening round on Dec. 12.