by Cerwin D. Haynes
(photos by Tadzio Garcia)
Trailing by six points at the half, #10-ranked East Los Angeles College outscored #2-ranked Santa Monica College 50-39 in the second half to put away the Corsairs 87-82. Forward Kealen Allen led all scorers with 20 points on 7 of 10 shooting; he added six rebounds and two steals as well.
Both teams shot over 50% from the field and over 40% from the three-point line. But the Huskies got to the charity stripe more than the Corsairs, attempting 38 free throws (making 23) to Santa Monica's 13 (made 11). Late in the game, ELAC would make enough free throws and stifle the Corsairs' final offensive possessions to preserve a slim lead and the win. The Huskies improve to 6-1 on the young season while SMC drops to 6-2 on the year.
It was an impressive and meaningful victory for the Huskies in several ways:
- in last season's CCCAA Regional Playoffs, Santa Monica came into Monterey Park and upset the Huskies 63-60 to abruptly a season of championship aspirations.
- this game was a late-add to the Huskies' schedule - head coach John Mosley wanted this rematch.
- after dropping from #4 to #10 in the CCCMBCA rankings, ELAC was looking for a signature victory to stake its claim to climb back up the rankings.
- Guard Deshaaun Highler had 16 points and four assists. Forward Joseph Hampton came off the bench and also scored 16 points, including 3-4 from three-point land.
- Center Malik Muhammed had three blocks to go along with 15 points (6-8 FGs).
- Both teams tied in the rebounding department at 29 apiece.
- Corsairs starter Mekhi Kimble scored a team-high 16 points, making four out of five shots from downtown.
After enjoying a well-deserved Thanksgiving meal, the Huskies will prepare to head out to Riverside next week to play in the Riverside City College Classic from December 4th through the 7th.