The Long Beach City College men's basketball team pumped out its season-best points total in its South Coast Conference (SCC) opener against the LA Harbor College Seahawk on Wednesday night in the Hall of Champions gymnasium. With four players landing in double-digits, the Vikings used timely offense and much-needed defense down the stretch en route to a 96-85 victory.
Despite starting the contest off relatively slow, the Vikings worked to gain their first lead of the game early after freshman guard Duwane Hicks (Detroit, MI) and freshman guard Charles Smith (Downey, CA) hit three pointers on consecutive possessions. Sophomore guard Breamon Richard (Los Angeles, CA) chipped in a triple, followed by another bucket from Smith to grasp the lead at 17-12 nearing the halfway mark in the first half.
The offensive train continued to chug powerfully with the Vikings lighting up the hardwood from downtown. Freshman guard Mark Neal Jr. (Long Beach, CA) snapped the bottom of the net for a three pointer followed by a triple off the hand of freshman guard William English (Long Beach, CA). English added another three pointer a handful of possessions later to expand the Long Beach lead to 27-15.
The Seahawks continued to battle and pulled within three points of the Vikings with just under seven minutes remaining. However, Richard took the reins and went on a six-point streak to maintain a two-point advantage.
LBCC took control of the game once again after the short LA Harbor scoring spurt with freshman guards Justin Richardson (Lynwood, CA) and Matt Arrivas (Sacramento, CA) adding to the pot with a bucket each. Two more three pointers from Neal Jr. and English came at the right moment minutes later leading to a 63-50 advantage at halftime.
LBCC started off slow once again in the second half by allowing the Seahawks to string toegether a 10-2 run to open the first 3:30 minutes. Sophomore guard Femi Omisile (Bloomington, MN) snapped the LA Harbor streak with a layup, followed by five points from Smith. Richard assisted on both the Smith buckets as well.
LA Harbor continued to make it interesting by pulling within six, but the Vikings had other plans – specifically a trio consisting of Richard, Smith, and English.
After Arrivas hit a clutch three pointer to put them up by eight points with just under 10 minutes to go, the trio accounted for the final 17 points in the remaining 10 minutes thus handing the Vikings a 96-85 victory.
Richard was dynamic once again and pushed his double-digit scoring streak to 17-straight contests. He finished with 25 points. He also distributed the ball effectively by recording seven assists.
Smith was an animal by earning an impressive 7-for-11 mark from the floor leading to 20 points. He was two rebounds shy from a double-double as he finished with eight. English lit up the floor from distance by drilling three shot beyond the arc and hitting three free throws en route to 18 points.
Neal Jr. earned his first-career double-double after dropping 11 points and hauling in 10 rebounds. He added four assists as well.
The Vikings will look to remain undefeated in conference action on Friday, January 20th as they face off against El Camino College in conference play. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m.