Men's Hoops Take #14 Seed, Hosts #17 Cuesta In SoCal Playoff Round 1

Lancer Chris Blount leads PCC men's basketball into the postseason on Wednesday, photo by Richard Quinton.
Lancer Chris Blount leads PCC men's basketball into the postseason on Wednesday, photo by Richard Quinton.

For the first time in 15 years, the Pasadena City College men's basketball team will host a postseason game. The Lancers (17-11) earned the No. 14 seed and will host #17 seed Cuesta College in Round 1 of the Southern California Regional Playoffs on Wednesday, Feb. 27. Tip-off is 7 p.m. at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium.

PCC was the third place team from the South Coast Conference North Division and is making its first trip to the playoffs in five years. In the 2014, the 12th-seed Lancers upset #5 Saddleback on the road and then lost to Chaffey in Round 3.

You have to go back to 2004 for the last time PCC played in front of the home fans in the postseason. In a Round 2 game, Compton College, a 12th seed, upset PCC Hall of Fame head coach George Terzian's Lancers, 68-63, on its way to winning the state championship. Pasadena was the No. 4 seed that year and finished 22-9 overall. The Lancers also hosted a Round 1 game in defeating #13 Fullerton, 90-80.

There was controversy over PCC's opponent Wednesday. At first, the Lancers were to face the original No. 19 seed San Diego Miramar, but a same-conference matchup occurred on the other side of the Regional bracket. Since on the men's side, no team is allowed under the by-laws to face a same-conference team in first round meeting, the CCCAA made an adjustment late Monday that took the 17th seed Cuesta into Pasadena's matchup so it could avoid facing #16 Allan Hancock (now facing Miramar). 

The Lancers did not get the advantage in this change as they went from potentially facing a third place team from the PCAC North Division to playing a Cuesta Cougars team that is 21-7 and finished as the co-champions of the Western State North. Not only that, Cuesta finished the year on a 6-game win streak, including a victory over #15 seed and co-WSC champ Ventura. Miramar was a 16-12 team that fought through a 5-game losing streak in January, but certainly it can be argued that PCC is facing a far stronger opponent now.

PCC suffered its worst loss of the season in the SCC finale at #4 seed Chaffey, 99-65 on Feb. 22. Patric Panoosi drilled five 3-pointers for his team-high 15 points. Chaffey buried 11 treys and used hot shooting from the floor (65 percent in the second half) to run the score up on PCC. 

Coach Michael Swanegan's Lancers are led by sophomore transfer forward Chris Blount, averaging 13.3 points and 8.4 rebounds a game, and letterman forward Jordan Simpson (8.8 points, 7.8 rebounds), who was second in the state in blocked shots with 79 (3 per game). Other key players include transfer point guard Giovonni Jackson, who in conference play only excelled at 11.3 points and 4.2 assists, and letterman shooting guard Josiah Woods, averaging 12 points a game overall and leads PCC in outside shooting with 59 triples. Woods is also just three points shy of joining the program's 500-point Club for his career.

Cuesta is paced by sophomore guard Joshua Wilson-Murry, who is averaging 16.9 points and 7.6 rebounds and frosh guard Alexandre Fanchini (16.8 points, 4 assists, 2.5 steals). Wilson-Murry is sixth in the state in 3-point field goals with 90. Earlier this month, long-time Cougars head coach Rusty Blair became just the 13th California Community College coach to reach milestone 500 victories in his career. 

SoCal Regional Bracket