On Wednesday, Jan. 13, the LCC Titans men's basketball team defeated the Umpqua Community College Riverhawks 81-75. The win marked the first NWAACC conference win for the Titans this season.
It was a hard-fought victory for the Titans, as the teams entered halftime tied at 38. The game contained five lead changes and seven ties, leading the Titans to believe they have not reached their ceiling.
"Hopefully, we play with lots of passion," Head Coach Bruce Chavka said. "We are an exciting team, and I really think we are going to continue to grow."
LCC made a determined effort to run their offense through the post for this game. "We wanted to get the ball inside," Chavka said. "The bigs on this team are the best bigs I've ever had. We want to continue that for the rest of the year."
"Our goal was to get it inside, and if they collapse on us, then kick it out," sophomore forward Justin Hartford said. "This was a good win for us."
Sophomore guard Aric Wright led the Titans in scoring with 19 points. Watson chipped in 17 points and six rebounds. Freshman forward Brandon Durham had a double-double, contributing 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The Titans started slowly, missing shots and turning the ball over as the Riverhawks streaked to a 17-4 lead, including hitting their first three three-point attempts. The Titans battled back, tying the game at 25 apiece at the 4:53 mark of the first half.
"We dug ourselves a hole," Chavka said. "It shows that we care, and play with passion because we did not lose our composure. We just do not want to start out so flat."
LCC got a much-needed jolt from the high-flying display put on by Watson. Watson excited the home fans with a dunk that brought the Titans to within two at 25-23. LCC carried over that energy for the rest of the game.
"The team reflects off my energy, so I try to go hard every game," Watson said.
"We are looking to compete with everyone," Watson added. "It is a new year, and a whole new Titans team."
Jordan Black led UCC with 17 points and six rebounds. The Titans next challenge comes on Saturday, Jan. 23, when they face off against Clackamas.