Falcons wins a nail-biter to remain undefeated in conference play

Nizar Milbes

Falcons men’s basketball defeated Los Angeles Harbor 64-61 Wednesday in a game that saw 14 lead changes and eight tie scores in the contest.

The Falcons started off very strong with an early 10-0 lead as Los Angeles Harbor struggled to find the basket early.

Los Angeles Harbor was able to change their defensive scheme in order to climb back into the game early.

The Falcons seemed to be cruising early as they were obviously the better team on paper.

However, the Falcons looked fatigued as the game carried on and weren’t playing the solid defense they were during the early part of the first half.

Head coach Russ May surprisingly wasn’t too happy after the win. Although the Falcons have won five straight conference games, he felt like the team was fortunate to pull off a narrow win Wednesday.

“We didn’t play with a lot of energy tonight and our focus was off for most of the game,” he said after the game, “We are lucky that we came out with the win tonight and will take it.”

The Falcons were coming off a big win against Los Angeles Southwest College 95-61.

Sophomore guard no. 5 Taiwan Elston came off the Bench and made some critical shots in the game including three straight jump shots that allowed. The Falcons regained the lead 52-50 after they were down for the first time in the game 41-40 with 11:35 left in the Game.

Elston has been big off the Bench all season producing the punch that the team needed from the reserves.

The help was needed, since the Falcons have been missing star forward no. 15 Desmond Murphy and sophomore guard no. 12 Christian Alvis-Labadie do to lower leg injuries.

Coach May expects them to be in the lineup against Falcons’ rivals Long Beach City College, which may be critical in deciding the conference winner for the 2018 -2019 season.

“They are both very important contributors to this team their presence will be felt moving forward,” said May.

The Falcons have beaten Long Beach twice this season and defeating them a third time would be Daunting task.

The Falcons shot very well from the free throw line which may have been the difference maker.

Freshman guard no. 12 Chance Hunter struggled a bit in the game from the 3-point line however made three critical free throws to seal the deal.

Over all Hunter was 7-9 from the line on the night. The Falcons made 16-20 Free Throws overall in the game.

The 80 percent shooting from the line was one of the best percentages throughout the whole season where their averaged 70.3 percent overall.

Hunter vocalized what was going through his mind when he made those crucial free-throws to close out the game.

“I just try to play my role,” he said, “I try to finish games and lead my team to victory.”

Hunter added that the team needs to focus on the little things and maintain focus on every position.

He emphasized on rebounding and second chance opportunities. The falcons out rebounded Los Angeles Harbor 45 to 31 and made 20 points off second chance opportunities while Los Angeles Harbor had only two points on extra opportunities.

The Falcons continued to struggle from behind the arc. The only shot nine percent from three on Wednesday and 20 percent all season. Coach May blames his players focus for the poor shooting.

The Falcons are currently 5-0 in the conference while Long Beach City College is 4-1.

If the Falcons win Feb. 8 that would put them in the driver’s seat to win the conference and advance to the state playoffs.

Assistant coach Jordan Little John stated that the team has had its ups and down all season but expects the Falcons to win the Conference and advance to the playoffs.

“As long as we play consistently and Falcons style basketball we will go a long way,” he continued.

After they face Long Beach City College the Falcons will have four more games to close out the season.

Click the link below to follow tweets from the game: