By Nathan Deen
Published on January 30, 2008
The PJC Men’s basketball team finished non-conference play with a record of 12-5 and had a lot of confidence going into their conference schedule. However, the Pirates lost a heartbreaking 93-91 conference home opener against Okaloosa Walton College, a game in which there were several instances of questionable officiating.
The schedule has gotten more difficult since then, with the Pirates now standing last in the Panhandle Conference with a 0-5 record. After playing back-to-back road games at Gulf Coast Community College on Jan. 12 and Tallahassee Community College on Jan 15, the Pirates had to return home Jan. 19 to face No. 1 ranked Chipola College and then travel back on the road to play a rematch against Okaloosa Walton.
It is unusual that they have lost the five games as they have significantly out-rebounded their opponents.
“Usually when you out-rebound people that well, you win,” said head coach Paul Swanson.
But there are key areas of the game in which the Pirates have struggled.
“We’re fouling too much,” Swanson said, “and we’re not getting to the free throw line enough, and we’re still turning the ball over.”
The Pirates were poor in all of these areas in their Jan. 19 loss to Chipola. PJC shot just 9 of 16 from the free throw line (averaging only 62 percent as a team) while Chipola shot 20 of 27. Furthermore, PJC committed 30 turnovers and had a turnover ratio of 2:1.
PJC also has allowed opponents to get off to quick starts. Okaloosa Walton in the opener, Gulf Coast, and Tallahassee all jumped out to early double digit leads. Swanson attributes this to his team’s poor shooting habits, especially from the three-point line in which the Pirates are shooting only 28 percent.
Swanson also added that his team has had a difficult time in containing the opponent’s best player. In the opener against Okaloosa Walton, shooting guard Ty Waller, who averages 19.4 points, shredded PJC with 36 points.
Forward Petras Balocka is averaging a double-double with 13.8 points and 11.2 rebounds. Miles Taylor and Lasha Parghalava are the only two other players averaging double figures. Taylor is averaging 13.6 points while Parghalava is averaging 11.3 points.
The schedule does not get easier, but the next two games will be at home against Tallahassee (Jan 30) and Gulf Coast (Feb 2). The Pirates will then have play at Chipola on Feb. 5.
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