Mens basketball just might finish the season strong

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By Nathan Deen

Published on February 13, 2008

The PJC men’s basketball team is still without wins in the conference (0-8), but they may just have what it takes to finish the season strong. The Pirates almost knocked off No. 3 ranked Chipola Indians last Wednesday and, despite the loss, it was the most complete game PJC has played since their conference home opener against Okaloosa Walton, a game they lost in overtime.

“We’re still battling,” said head coach Paul Swanson. “Nobody’s giving up. We believe we can still beat anybody in the league.”

Okaloosa Walton comes back to play PJC at the Hartsell Arena on Wednesday, where they narrowly escaped with a victory the first time. In order to beat the Raiders, Swanson said he is preaching fundamentals to his team.

Swanson added that the main difference between winning and losing right now is his team’s poor shooting habits.

“If we can shoot over 45 percent from the field and 65 percent from the foul line, then we have a very, very good chance of winning.”

Right now the Pirates are not doing either one of those things well and are especially struggling from the foul line, shooting just 59 percent as a team. The Pirates have lost a handful of games by less than five points, including the recent loss to Chipola where PJC missed 13 free throws.

After struggling during conference play, sophomore guard Lasha Parghalava finally broke out with 25 points against Chipola after scoring 17 in the previous game against Gulf Coast. Up until the Chipola game, Pargahlava had yet to prove to be a key factor.

Coach Swanson said PJC needs consistent contribution from the sophomore leader in order to have a good chance to win. Petras Balocka still leads the team in scoring average with 13.9 points and in rebounding average with 11.2.

Wednesday’s game against Okaloosa Walton marks the second to last home game for PJC this season. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.