The Pasadena City College men's basketball team open the 2016-17 season determined to rise up after a dismal '15-16 campaign that netted only five wins in 27 games. With a pre-season No. 16 SoCal ranking, it appears the Lancers already are showing they will be far tougher opponents.
Directed by head coach Mike Swanegan, now in his 10th season at PCC, the Lancers opened the season going 1-2 at the annual Ventura College We Play Hard Tournament Nov. 3-5. In the consolation final, PCC rallied with six points in the final minute, including a layup by newcomer McKay Anderson with 10 seconds left that gave the Lancers a 78-76 lead. Orange Coast, however, stunned Pasadena on Tim Pena's 3-point bomb with three seconds remaining for a 79-78 Pirates' victory.
The Lancers picked up their first victory a day earlier with an 83-59 rout over LA Valley. In the season opener, PCC trailed by 15 points but trimmed a lead to two in the last minute before losing to Palomar, 83-80.
PCC is led by a veteran group that includes All-South Coast Conference guard Dejon Williams, who returns from two seasons ago, and All-SCC honorable mention guard Todd Barnes, who averaged 10.7 points a game last season. Anderson, who played at Southern Utah University in 2013-14, completed a Mormon mission and decided to transfer back to his place of birth--Pasadena. Anderson was a 2-time, All-CIF player at La Verne Lutheran High and now the 6-foot-5 forward is a key Lancer.
Another La Verne Lutheran product is incoming freshman guard Skyler Williams, an All-San Gabriel Valley Area selection as a senior. Bolstering the frosh crew is Pasadena Star-News All-Area choice and 6-6 guard Justus Tucker, from Monrovia High. William Johnson, from Takoma Academy in Maryland, is another guard who will see plenty of action for the Lancers. Levi James, a 6-4 forward from Wilson High in Long Beach, scored 41 points in a prep game as a senior.
In PCC's loss to Palomar, Williams came off the bench to score 21 points, including five 3-pointers, and four steals. Both Barnes and Anderson tallied 18 points each with Anderson adding 11 rebounds.
Against LA Valley, Anderson had a dominating performance in scoring 26 points (13-for-19 from the field) and grabbing 14 rebounds with four assists. Barnes was a perfect 9-for-9 at the free throw line as part of his 17 points while Skyler Williams scored 17 off the bench. Dejon Williams chipped in 12 points.
PCC won't be back in action until Tuesday, Nov. 22 when it plays at Glendale in a 6 p.m. non-conference tip-off.
[Photo--Shooting guard Todd Barnes fires up a jumper at the Ventura Tournament last weekend, image by Richard Quinton.]