By Andrew Ruiz
The East Los Angeles College men’s basketball team continued to keep its winning streak alive after defeating Cerritos College, 81-67, in a nonconference matchup on Jan. 21.
Four of five of the Huskies’ starters finished in double digits. Despite only playing 21 minutes, sophomore guard Marcus Romain led all scorers with 18 points. Shooting guard Michael Cardenas, sophomore, added 14 points, while guard Je’Ron Primus, also sophomore, had 11 and freshman forward Marquis Salmon chipped in 10.
As a team, the Huskies outshot Cerritos (53.2 percent FG, 50 percent 3-point FG).
After missing his first two 3-point attempts, Cardenas’ stellar defense would allow him to regain his confidence on offense as he answered back with three consecutive three pointers before finishing the night shooting 3-for-7 from beyond the arc.
“He’s one of the best shooters in the state. He’s been out of basketball for two to three years, so it’s going to take a while for him to really get going,” ELAC Head Coach John Mosley said.
“Right now he’s getting comfortable to where he’s really about to takeoff and be a big time threat. He wasn’t in the last couple of games, but it’s a big time advantage to count on someone to make shots.”
ELAC’s bench also outscored Cerritos’, 21-6, and freshman forward Richard Bivens had 18 of those points—singlehandedly outscored the Falcons alone.
Bivens, who shot 8-for-11 from the field, was an offensive force and the Falcons had no response on how to contain him.
“(After) I get a couple buckets, it gets me going. I feel comfortable and I can keep on going,” Bivens said.
“I just wanted to be aggressive tonight because we are in a slump, so if I’m more aggressive, I can really help us out more.”
Wednesday night’s win marked three in a row for the Huskies, improving their record to 11-8 overall while they remain 2-2 in the South Coast Conference North Division.
Judging on ELAC’s slow start in the game, it seemed as if the Huskies shied away from their usual all-up-in-your-face defensive scheme that translates into a 20-point lead before the half they applied to both of their previous opponents.
But for Mosley, executing down the stretch and being able to finish games on a good note was way more important than starting off strong.
“Our finishes haven’t been strong as we’ve let teams come back (in the game) the last couple of games,” Mosley said. “We always start off strong, but I’m glad we finished the complete game tonight.”
In a game with 11 ties and nine lead changes, ELAC applied its pressure at the midway point in the second half to extend its lead, 59-48, and never give Cerritos another chance to take the lead. The Falcons committed 14 turnovers that translated into 21 points for the Huskies.
The Huskies are back on the road Jan. 23 to face Long Beach City College at 7 p.m.