The Lancers men’s basketball team ended their 2013-2014 regular season on a high note with an 80-74 victory over El Camino-Compton Center Friday.
The Lancers (20-9, 8-5) officially placed second in the SCC North Division after winning their final two road games of the regular season.
“We persevered and that had a lot to do with Rashad and Bryce stepping up on both sides of the floor,” Lancers head coach Michael Swanegan said. “It’s been a great week for Rashad who has worked hard to get into the starting lineup.”
Once again sophomore forward Rashad Smith was instrumental for the Lancers, as he recorded a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds in his second consecutive start.
“Rashad is our X factor,” sophomore forward Taj Spencer said. “I’ve been saying it all year. He does all the little things and that’s what I appreciate most from him.”
The SoCal No. 15-rated Lancers made a strong case to make the 2014 regional playoffs after reaching the 20-win mark for the first time since 2008-2009. The Lancers have not made the playoffs since 2004.
“We came out with a lot of focus and heart going into Compton,” Smith said.
After leading 40-37 at halftime, the Lancers battled back-and-forth with the Tartars in the second half. After going down 63-59 with 8:30 remaining in the game, the Lancers went on an 8-0 run and never looked back.
The Lancers were led by sophomore point guard Jeffrey Dockett, who scored a game-high 24 points. Dockett went 12-for-17 from the field and added four steals, three assists and three rebounds.
“Jeffrey got his confidence back as a shooter and pushed the tempo for us,” Swanegan said. “Now we get to see what the playoff seedings has in store for us.”
The victory was another team effort for the Lancers as five players scored in double figures for the second consecutive game.
“Last night’s game was another team effort,” Spencer said. “We needed everyone for that win.”
Although he led the team in scoring, Dockett attributed the team’s victory to the emergence of Smith.
“Rashad has stepped his game up and contributed to these last two wins,” Dockett said. “He (Smith) has been playing with a lot of energy with his scoring and getting rebounds.”
Freshman center Faruk Oyalade was key in the second half for the Lancers. Oyalade was a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor, scoring 13 points and grabbing six rebounds. Freshman guard Adrian Miles added 12 points with three steals and Spencer added 10 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.
Sophomore forward Bryce Clifton added six points, six rebounds and a team-high six assists in his second consecutive start.
“This team chemistry and great team play couldn’t have come at a better time.” Spencer said.