Two days before the Los Angeles holiday match-up between LeBron James' Lakers and Kawhi Leonard's Clippers, the Palo Verde College (PVC) Pirates men's basketball team took to center court at home against the visiting Compton College Tartars.

The Dec. 23 fan-friendly game found the Pirates fall just short of the win, with the Compton College players taking the victory by a score of 83-81.

First half play saw the Pirates a step behind the stellar play of standout Compton College guards Dominique Alexander (5) and Onaje Higgins (1), who combined for 40 of the visiting squad's total points on the night.

Down as much as 30-14, the Pirates began finding their shots about 12 minutes in behind standout guard Larry Hemingway Jr. (5), as well as integral play from Desmond Ashley (1) and forward Jeramy Ward (12).

The first also saw the anticipated home debut play of local standout student-athlete Dennis Cross Jr. (14).

The Pirates nabbed some rebounds and sank some pivotal shots to cut the lead down to six, with a score of 44-38 going into halftime.

A group of local youths performed dance routines to entertain the attending crowd during halftime.

The second half saw Compton College freshman guard Frank Murray (42) come alive, dropping 7 of 8 field goals to go with two rebounds and two assists. Murray finished with 20 points on the night.

Though the Tartars stretched the lead to 76-60 at one point, the final 20 minutes of play were close.

With about six and a half minutes left in regulation, the Pirates pushed to make a go of it behind the play of Hemingway Jr. (5), Ashley (1) and forward Alijah Ginn (5).

The Compton College lead narrowed to 81-77 before a turnover made it a foul possession game against the clock til the final score of 83-81.

All told, the Pirates went 34-68 in field goals (50 percent); 4-21 from beyond the arc (19 percent); and sank 9 of 11 from the line (81.8 percent).

Compton's play saw the visiting team go 32-63 (50.8 percent) from field goal range; 5-18 (27.8 percent) in three-pointers; and 14 of 21 (66.7 percent) from the line.

Next home game's tip-off is currently scheduled for Jan. 8, 7 p.m., at the PVC campus Clancy Osborne Physical Education (PE) Building's gymnasium (One College Dr.), against Barstow.

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