The Hancock College men's basketball team's last game before Saturday night was on Nov. 19 and Saturday evening, "We looked like a team that had been off for three weeks," said Hancock coach Tyson Aye.
Cerritos College's second half lead kept expanding as the crowd size kept shrinking, and the Falcons came away with a 75-51 win over the Bulldogs in a non-conference game at Hancock's Joe White Memorial Gymnasium.
The Falcons, who compete in the Western State Conference South Division, moved to 9-2. The Bulldogs, who are in the WSC North Division, are 6-4.
Hancock was to play a non-conference game at Santa Monica City College Dec. 6, but the game was postponed because of Southern California fires that have been raging.
Cerritos was able to make the trip north Saturday, and the game gradually became a basketball beatdown in the second half.
The Falcons' lead reached 63-31 when Cody Wilkes buried a 3-point shot with 7:38 to play.
"We didn't execute anything," said Aye.
"We were a step slow, a step behind on everything."
Demetrius Thomas, a 6-foot-8 guard-sophomore from Bassick High School in Bridgeport, Connecticut, scored a game high 27 points for Cerritos on 11-for-16 shooting from the field. He made all three of his foul shots.
The Falcons led from the time Thomas buried a 3-point shot for the first points when the game was 1:12 old.
Keshaun Mack added 17 points for the Falcons Saturday night. Anthony Coleiro put in 10.
Reserve Mayowa Akinsanya led Hancock with 11 points. He made all of his four shots from the field. The rest of the Bulldogs' shooters went a combined 15-for-57.
The Cerritos shooters didn't miss much early, and a John Riddick follow shot amounted to Hancock's lone field goal as the Falcons' lead reached 19-3 at the 12:23 mark of the first half.
The Falcons' margin was 21-8 with 11:28 left until intermission, and then they didn't score for the next 3:16. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs started to get some offensive rhythm by getting inside on the Falcons.
D.J. Searcy scored inside to cut the Bulldogs' deficit to 28-21 with 2:41 left before intermission. No one scored for the rest of the half.
Most of the second half looked like the span in the first in which Cerritos amassed its 19-3 lead.
The Falcons knocked down a steady stream of shots from close range, mid-range and 3-point range en route to a 19-for-35 performance from the field after halftime. The Bulldogs' attack, meanwhile, looked utterly discombobulated against the second-half Cerritos defensive pressure until the home team, with a lot of fans having already departed, went on a roll and scored 20 points the last 6:39.
With the game out of reach, Aye rested standout Hancock sophomore point guard Shane Carney the last several minutes of the game.
"I feel sorry for the people who were here," said Aye. "They didn't see the real team."
Many of those people didn't stay the distance in this one.
Hancock is scheduled to play at the Los Angeles Southwest College Tournament Dec. 14-16.