Gritty effort for Pirates in win over Lasers

Gritty effort for Pirates in win over Lasers

COSTA MESA -- Enough was enough for the Orange Coast College men's basketball team as the Pirates found the guts and the grit to pull out a 69-67 win over visiting Irvine Valley College on Wednesday night.

The much-needed win snapped a painful 11-game losing streak for Coast and gave the team some much-needed smiles as the 2019-20 season comes to a close in nine days.

The duo of Miles Woods and Jonathan Ileleji found the offensive mojo for the Pirates. Woods led the way with 24 points and four steals, while Ileleji added 23 points to go along with six rebounds. Andres Ortega added 10 points, while Aundrel Pua tied Ileleji for the team lead with six rebounds to go along with six assists.

For the Lasers, Austin Carter scored 22 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, while Christian Louis added 13 points and Aashad Womack contributed 12 to go along with 10 boards. 

Coast trailed for the entire first half, but used a late-half run to pull to within a point at the half, 32-31. 

From there, the entire second half was a tightly contested game with lead changes throughout. IVC pulled ahead by nine midway through the second half, before OCC pressure and timely shooting from Ileleji and Woods brought them back into the game. 

Trailing by a point with 19 seconds remaining, Woods was fouled and calmly went to the free-throw line and nailed both attempts, putting OCC up, 68-67. IVC's next possession resulted in a Carter turnover and a steal by Aaron Arauz and in the final seconds, Myles was again fouled and went to the line, where he made the first FT, but missed the second, putting the Pirates up, 69-67.

The Lasers rushed down the court with six seconds left and a desperate attempt was nearly ally-ooped into the basket as the horn sounded. There was brief confusion as the officials huddled to determine the final play. Finally, the officials determined the shot was made AFTER the horn sounded, giving the Pirates the much-needed win.

OCC returns to action on Friday at Fullerton College at 6 p.m. before returning to the Peterson Gym on Wednesday against Golden West, beginning at 7 p.m.