By Noe Ortega
Men’s basketball avenged its elimination from last season.
It made a 13 point comeback on the road to defeat Santa Monica College 87-82 last Wednesday.
ELAC and Santa Monica had even stats throughout the game. Santa Monica shot a field goal percentage of 50.8 going 30 for 59, while ELAC shot a field goal percentage of 50.9 going 28-55. Both teams finished with 29 rebounds, but Santa Monica had five more turnovers than the Huskies.
Their next game will be another away game against Mount San Jacinto at the Riverside Community College tournament at 3 p.m.
The Huskies are ranked 10th in the state while Santa Monica are ranked third in the state.
ELAC was down for most of the first half, and suffered the loss of its starter point guard sophomore Levelle Ziegler, but with strong performances from sophomore Malik Muhammed and freshman Kealen Allen, ELAC improved their record to 6-1.
Allen finished the game with 20 points, six rebounds and three steals, one of which sealed the game for the Huskies in the final seconds of the game.
“I felt really great. Overall, it was a good team effort. My teammates really had my back and found me in the right spots,” Allen said.
While Muhammed was a nightmare for Santa Monica in the paint. He finished with 15 points, five rebounds and three blocks, and made six out of eight shots in the paint.
“The rankings never mean anything. Both of these teams are top five teams. (Both teams have) some of the more talented players in the state,” ELAC assistant coach Kenneth Hunter said.
“We knew coming into this that regardless of what happened last year in the playoffs, that this was going to be a dog fight.”
Ziegler played 14 minutes after suffering a thigh injury in the first half, but finished with three assists, three rebounds and a steal before exiting the game.
ELAC freshman guard Taj Regans came in to replace Ziegler after his injury, and finished the game with six points and four assists.
“We’re not based on just one guy. We’re a team. So if one guy falls down, we’ve got to pick up the load,” Regans said.
“We wanted the challenge. We took a tough loss two weeks ago to Copper Mountain. We were really down about that and I’m glad we came out and got the win, because Santa Monica has some good players,” Regan said.
ELAC sophomore guard Deshaun Highler finished the game with 16 points and four assists.
The Huskies biggest threat was Santa Monica sophomore shooting guard Mekhi Kimble who shot four for five behind the three-point line and finished with 16 points, two assists and two steals.
ELAC sophomore forward Joseph Hampton came off the bench and went three for four behind the three-point line and finished with 15 points, three rebounds and one block.
Husky sophomore Mark Boland also had a strong performance coming off the bench. He scored 10 points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal.
“Our whole team played hard. They played the right way. They understand what we want from them as coaches and how we want them to compete at every possession. And you get the results when everyone is working as a team,” Hunter said.