In the Pasadena City College men's basketball team's most influential victory in four years, the unranked Lancers upset state No. 10-ranked and host Cerritos, 72-68, Friday night in a South Coast Conference crossover game.
The Lancers upped their record to 12-6, which already tied the most wins by a PCC team since the 2014-15 season. Head Coach Michael Swanegan and his assistant staff of Jesse Ellis, Keith Hollimon, Idris Jones and Hosie Ward could very well have a playoff team in the making. Pasadena last made the SoCal Regional Playoffs in 2013-14 when the Lancers also last had a better-than-.500 season at 21-10.
Against Cerritos, No. 7 in state RPI power points going into the contest, PCC kept with the Falcons despite Cerritos controlling the tempo in a half-court offense. With 22 seconds left, Chris Blount sank one free throw, then Jordan Simpson grabbed the offensive rebound on the next attempt scored on a put-back and was fouled. His ensuing free throw gave the Lancers a 69-67 lead. A Simpson defensive rebound after a Falcons free throw led to a foul and two more free throws by Simpson with six seconds remaining.
Giovonni Jackson made a steal on the next Cerritos possession and hit a free throw, making it a 4-point game and sealing the triumph.
Overall, Simpson led the Lancers with 17 points and 12 rebounds (and three blocks) while Khristion Courseault added 16 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Blount tacked on 14 points and six boards, and Josiah Woods scored 13.
Tawon Elston had 14 points off the bench to lead Cerritos (13-5). PCC moved up to #22 in state RPI (13th in SoCal).
The Lancers finished an outstanding run through their crossovers with the SCC South Division, going 4-1. Now PCC faces a bigger challenge with its 10-game, SCC North Division schedule. The Lancers will have to find ways to win v. the likes of state No. 5 East Los Angeles (3-time defending conference champion), No. 12 ranked Chaffey (13-5), and No. 15 rated LA Trade Tech, like Pasadena having a rebound season at 14-3. Currently, in SoCal RPI, ELAC is #6, Chaffey #8, and Trade Tech #9.
The Lancers are No. 1 in the state in blocked shots, averaging 6.3 a game (Simpson tied for sixth individually at 2.5 per contest). The team's defense is No. 15 in points average allowed and it's that defense that has been a strength for the team all season (68 points allower per game).
PCC begins the SCC North slate on Wednesday, Jan. 23 at Rio Hondo College. Tip-off for all men's division games are 5 p.m. preceding the women's contests at 7 p.m. The Lancers return home to Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium on Friday, Jan. 25 v. the powerful East LA Huskies (15-3).