For the third straight tournament, the Pasadena City College men's basketball team advanced to a third game. While the Lancers finished 1-2 at the Riverside Holiday Classic Dec. 7-9, they avoided falling into a losing string.
PCC is 5-5 overall after a 71-58 loss to Compton, a 92-55 rout over Bethesda University's JV team, and a 71-57 defeat against state No. 17-ranked Fullerton.
In the consolation final v. Fullerton, Long Beach State-bound forward Joe Hampton totaled 30 of PCC's points and played all 40 minutes. Hampton converted two-thirds of his free throws (14-of-21) and added six rebounds and four blocked shots. Pasadena fell behind 11-0 and 30-13 and never threatened the Hornets (9-4), who were led by Akil Reese with 17 points and eight rebounds.
After Hampton, the other 11 Lancers combined for some weak numbers, including scoring just 27 points, making 10-for-35 from the field, and pulling down a pedestrian 21 individual rebounds. Starting guard Anthony Evans had 10 points, five rebounds and made three steals. Todd Kitagawa had three points and four assists.
PCC coach Michael Swanagan played all 15 of his players in the win over Bethesda. Five players reached double digits scoring, led by 15 by guard Kyle Mitchell (and five rebounds, three assists). Four reserves reached 10 or more points as Jordan Jones tallied 14 (and six rebounds), letterman guard Will Johnson scored 12 (4-fot-5 from the field, 4-for-4 from the line), and Josiah Woods (and five boards) and Eric Wells (plus three assists) both netted 10 points. Starting guard Malik Black contributed eight points, Evans three points and fives in rebounds and assists, Hampton seven points (in 13 minutes), and Kitagawa six points. Starting center Augustine Tadale chipped in four points and seven rebounds.
Pasadena trailed 17-14 with 12 minutes left in the first half, then outscored the Flames, 26-7, over the next six minutes with Johnson contributing eight points in the run.
In the RCC tourney opener, South Coast Conference rival Compton used the hot shooting of Derrius Ennis (8-for-11 from field), who scored 20 points, to put down the Lancers' mini, 3-game win streak. Coming off the bench, Hampton led PCC with 15 points (and seven rebounds). Evans scored 13 points and Mitchell had 10 points and eight rebounds, also from the bench.
On Friday, Dec.15, the Lancers travel to play in the College of Sequoias Kirby Mannon Tournament, opening with Ventura in a 5 p.m. tip-off.