The Lancers men’s basketball team was unable to continue its winning streak Wednesday, failing to overcome a sluggish start in losing 72-61 to the Falcons.
The Lancers (17-6, 5-2) were hampered by foul trouble the entire game, forcing head coach Michael Swanegan to go to the bench early in the first half.
“We didn’t execute on defense like we should have,” Swanegan said. “We have to go back to the drawing board. It’s just one loss. It’s not the end of the season.”
Four of the Lancers’ five starters were benched early with two personal fouls, including sophomores Jeffrey Dockett and Taj Spencer. Dockett and the Lancers coaching staff were assessed technical fouls early in the first half.
“We just have to come to practice tomorrow focused and play better as a team,” freshman guard Jevon Shields said. “Height should never be an excuse. We just have to work harder on the boards.”
Shields continued his emergence as a starter, recording 10 of his 12 points in the first half. Shields’ jump-shot was falling in the first half, and he hit back-to-back three pointers to cut the Falcons lead to two, 21-19. But the Lancers would never take the lead.
“Our heart wasn’t in the game for the full 40 minutes,” Spencer said. “We needed this loss to keep us hungry. We know we are capable of playing better. We needed this loss to stay hungry.”
At the half the Lancers trailed 38-30. The starting back-court of Dockett and freshman Adrian Miles were held scoreless in the first half. Dockett finished the game with four points, five assists and five rebounds, but shot just 2-of-13 from the field.
“We’re still in first place,” Swanegan said. “The last couple of games we haven’t been as focused and aggressive as we need to be. When you go up against good teams you have to be ready. We just have to come back and play harder. We’re a good team and good teams rebound from tough losses.”
Spencer finished the game with a team-high 16 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore forward Bryce Clifton added eight points and five rebounds and freshman guard Jonathan Henderson added eight points off the bench. Freshman center Faruk Oyalade scored seven points to go with a team-high 13 rebounds.
The No. 15 ranked Lancers travel to face Long Beach City College on Friday, Jan. 31. Tip off begins at 7 p.m.