Playing with their back against the wall, the Lancers men’s basketball team grabbed an important 80-68 victory of LA Trade Tech Wednesday.
With the win, the Lancers (19-9, 7-5) kept their conference title hopes alive and are currently tied for second place in the South Coast North Division with Mt. SAC. In order for the Lancers to earn a share of the conference title they need to win their final game of the season and a Mt. SAC victory over division leading East Los Angeles College.
“We played hard,” head coach Michael Swanegan said. “We play better on the road. I guess because it’s less distraction.”
In Wednesday’s victory over the Beavers, Swanegan went with a different starting line-up as sophomore forwards Bryce Clifton and Rashad Smith were added to the starting line-up.
“We tried to change a few things up,” Swanegan said. “A couple of things we needed to improve upon were rebounding, so we went with a bigger lineup and it worked in our favor.”
The lineup change proved to be successful as five players scored in double figures for the Lancers, including Smith who scored a career-high 17 points. The 6-foot-4 forward had arguably one of his best games of the season, adding four rebounds, four assists and three steals while connecting on 5-of-10 from the field.
“I just played hard,” Smith said. “My coaches put me in a position to where I could help the team and we focused on rebounding.”
Despite only connecting on 21-of-40 free-throws (52%), the Lancers managed to dominate the Beavers on the glass, outrebounding Trade Tech 51-32.
With the victory, Swanegan earned the 200th career victory of his 15-year collegiate career. Swanegan won 117 games as head coach at Mt. SAC and has 83 victories and counting in his seventh season in charge of the Lancers.
“We really wanted to get the win for coach,” freshman center Faruk Oyalade said. “We were very upset we didn’t get him the win at home. We came out focused.
Freshman guard Adrian Miles scored 16 points and pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds. Miles sank four 3-pointers and added three assists and three steals. Sophomore point guard Jeffrey Dockett tallied 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds.
Sophomore forward Taj Spencer scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds and Oyalade added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Lancers.
The Lancers close the regular season Friday, Feb. 21 when they travel to take on El Camino College-Compton Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.