By Will Hernandez
With their backs against the wall, the men’s basketball team beat El Camino College Compton Center, 105-100, Tuesday night.
ELAC entered the game with a two-game losing streak and are tied for first place in the South Coast Conference North Division with Pasadena City College.
Compton, throughout the game played aggressively, as they executed their unique style of physical basketball. “You’ve got to give credit to them, they’re scrappy, but no matter what, we got to keep on playing,” ELAC forward Primitivo Gomez said.
The Huskies were relieved to pull off the critical win after competing for 40 hard fought minutes. “These last three games are going to be the hardest, just like the one tonight, because we’ve got win them no matter what,” ELAC Head Coach John Mosley said.
Shortly after tipoff, Compton got off to a quick 10-0 lead and imprinted their style of play right off the bat. “It was a really intense game, we had to fight until the very end,” Husky starting forward Aaron Cheatum said.
Towards the end of the first half (3:50 remained), ELAC started to take control of the momentum. They outhustled Compton up and down the court with their athleticism and stingy defense and extended their lead to 46-33 after forward Zach Hinton completed two free throws at the line.
Hinton went to the free throw line after getting fouled on an alley-oop attempt that was set in motion by guard Te’Shon Burton. “It’s all on my teammates, they’re the ones who got me the ball and I [fed] off their energy,” Hinton said.“When we come together, we play hard,”
Compton, with their aggressiveness on the court and loud support from their fans, rallied back by defending the Huskies with a full court press and taunts that shouted “what are you going to do?” that shortened the lead at halftime to 53-49.
ELAC exploited on their uptempo rhythm, which generated points on fast break opportunities that mostly ended in points. “We really got out and ran, but where we really excelled was at the glass [backboard]. We out-rebounded them and used the glass to make a lot of shots,” Mosley said.
ELAC scored almost a quarter of their total points from the free-throw line, in which they completed 25 free throws out-of-46 attempts, a 54% completion rate.
Despite their average free throw completion rate, the Huskies made free throws when they mattered most as guard Davian Wilson competed six consecutive shots from the line in the last minute of regulation.
In last night’s game both teams offenses excelled. “We want to play better defense than that, but you’ve to give credit to them (Compton) for making their shots. I’ll take the win even with that kind of score,” Mosley said.
Hinton finished strong and delivered with 25 clutch points. “The whole mindset was to finish hard and strong,” Hinton said.
Last night’s game was as important as any game the Huskies have played this season after PCC defeated them last friday night at ELAC, 73-72.
“We came out ambitious, because we knew that we had to win these last games in order to make the playoffs and have a chance to compete for the state title,” Cheatum said.
ELAC’s overall record is now 18-8,Wednesday they’ll host Los Angeles Trade Tech at 7 p.m in the men’s gym.