ECC men’s basketball team drops third straight game to start the season


El Camino College men’s basketball player Rashon Crutcher takes on a San Diego Mesa defender during the game on Friday, Nov. 8 at ECC North Gym. Crutcher had 11 points and four assists in the 72-61 Warriors loss. David Odusanya/The Union Photo credit: David Odusanya

The El Camino College men’s basketball team got off to a hot start against San Diego Mesa College at home on Friday, Nov. 8, beginning the game with a 6-0 lead.

Warriors’ sophomore guard Jason Vasquez capped off a strong first half offensively for ECC sinking a shot at the buzzer to give the Warriors a 32-30 lead over the Olympians entering halftime.

SD Mesa responded by coming out firing in the second half outscoring the Warriors 42-29 to earn them their first win of the season with a 72-61 victory.

“We didn’t play at our best,” SD Mesa coach Travis Nichols said.”We had a lot of mental mistakes. It’s early in the season but we’re trying to get perfection and I know it’s going to take some time.”

The Warriors (0-3) will look to get in the win column when it hosts the defending California Community College Athletic Association State Champions Fullerton College (2-0) on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 5 p.m.

El Camino College men’s basketball player Jason Vasquez moves past a San Diego Mesa College defender during the game on Friday, Nov. 8 at ECC North Gym. Vasquez had 13 points and four rebounds in the the Warriors 72-61 loss. David Odusanya/The Union

A total of 27 fouls recorded in the first half made it hard for either team to find its rhythm offensively to gain a comfortable lead. Both teams finished with a combined total of 56 fouls in the game.

SD Mesa’s defense was able to convert forced turnovers from the Warriors into easy buckets in transition.

“I feel like we kind of let that game get away,” Warriors’ coach Robert Uphoff said. “Its the third game in a row we came out the second half and we had no energy and we didn’t execute.”

ECC’s real struggle came from the free-throw line in this game, making 9 of 23 from the line including some big missed opportunities late in the game. The Olympians finished making 23 shots on 34 attempts at the free-throw line.

Olympians’ guard Jorge Ramirez led the SD Mesa in scoring, shooting a perfect 5-for-5 from the field for 14 points in the first half and finished the game with 17 points and eight rebounds. Fellow SD Mesa guard Nick Tucker added 10 points while forward Jamaal Wright also put in nine points.

Warriors’ sophomore Jamal Howard tied for a game-high 17 points on 7-for-13 shooting from the field. Vasquez contributed 13 points and four rebounds while Rashon Crutcher added 11 points and four assists for ECC.

“The season is a grind in college basketball and we’ve got to fight through fatigue and we’ve got to be mentally tougher in that,” Uphoff said.