At 2-14, the men’s basketball team has had its problems, and in their most recent loss to Long Beach, the same problems seem to keep arising.The Lancers took a six point lead into halftime, but trailed by three in the final seconds with a chance to tie.
The shot was missed and an opportunity to extend the game was as well, with Long Beach winning 70-67.
Although looking at the Lancer’s record might initially discourage fans, it doesn’t tell the story of the season.
“The kids are growing and maturing,” Head Coach Michael Swanegan said, “even though it hasn’t equaled wins.”
“There have been seven or eight losses that could have been wins,” Swanegan said, “Chances to win have been there, we just haven’t learned to win the close ones.”
Although the Lancers have struggled to get into the win column consistently, sophomore guard Harold Cleveland has been a standout player.
Cleveland is averaging 24.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.
Cleveland is accounting for more than 35 percent of the offense while shooting 41.8 percent from the field and 36.2 percent from three-point range.
“We have put [Cleveland] into a position to get a scholarship,” Swanegan said. “Part of our goals is moving sophomores to the next level.”
According to Swanegan, Cleveland has gained interest from Chaminade University in Hawaii and Cal Poly Pomona, but expects more interest to brew as the season progresses.
Swanegan is also excited about fellow sophomore Rico Henderson’s chances at the next level.
Henderson is averaging 14.8 points and 5.7 rebounds in only 10 games.
Other big contributors have been freshman center Gregory Harvey, who is averaging 8.4 points and a team high 6.8 rebounds, and freshman forward Joel Nolen, who has only joined the Lancers in the past two games, but led the team in scoring against Long Beach with 21 points.
Even with the slow start in the non-conference season, the Lancers still have a chance to make an impression when South Coast Conference play starts on Friday.
If they put together an amazing conference record, they have a shot at the post season.
“This is the real season,” Swanegan said. “If we go 10-1 in conference we can still make playoffs.”
The Lancers begin conference play at 7:30 p.m. Friday against East L.A. at Hutto-Patterson Gym.
The Lancers then travel to Mt. San Antonio on Wednesday in a homecoming for Swanegan, who coached the Mounties from 1999 to 2007.
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