Pirates start conference play with solid 2-0 start

Photo courtesy of Marcos Collado
Photo courtesy of Marcos Collado

CYPRESS -- The Orange Coast College men's basketball team had the chips stacked against them as the Orange Empire Conference play began, but the Pirates have cashed in well with road wins at Irvine Valley and Cypress this week.

Playing just a few days before the holiday break ... and opening with three straight OEC games on the road, the Pirates have gone 2-for-2 with a 72-59 win at Irvine Valley on Tuesday and a 63-61 win at Cypress on Thursday.

In the win against the Lasers (4-9, 0-1 in the OEC), the Pirates (9-3, 2-0) jumped out to a 28-10 lead in the first half and never allowed IVC back into the game.

Jydon Hall was OCC's top scorer with 24 points, while Sam Hunter added 11 and Logen Howard and Trent Williams each tossed in nine. For the Lasers, Roman Swizek had a team-best 21 points to go along with seven rebounds. 

The Pirate defense was the key to victory on Tuesday, forcing 24 IVC turnovers, which allowed Coast to outscore the Lasers 23-6 in the "points off turnovers" stat category.

On Thursday, it was a battle between two very even teams as the Pirates and Chargers (8-6, 1-1) stayed close to each other throughout the game. Coast pulled away midway through the first half with a 15-point lead, but the Chargers cut into that and pulled ahead by thre3e with 4:06 remaining.

It stayed a three-point Cypress advantage until Hall drilled a game-tying 3-pointer with 1:12 left to even the score at 60. Cypress made a free throw on its next possession, but a Hall layup put OCC ahead, 62-61 with 33 seconds remaining. The OCC defense kept the Chargers off the scoreboard the rest of the way and Isaiah Lee capped off the scoring with a made free throw in the final seconds.

Again, Hall led the way with 27 points, while Howard added nine and Hunter tossed in seven. Kyndle Terrell-Jones came off the bench and led the reserves with six points.

Next week, OCC will head to Santa Clarita for the College of the Canyons Cougar Holiday Classic and will opening things against L.A. Trade Tech on Wednesday, beginning at 4 p.m. Coast's next home game will be on Monday, Jan.9 against Fullerton College, beginning at 6 p.m.