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Ligon keys Pirates

Sophomore guard nets 19 of game-high 30 points in second half to help OCC rally in home opener.

December 09, 2011|By Barry Faulkner

COSTA MESA — Fire ants would be far more innocuous if their bite did not sting.

So, while a stubby defensive drones swarm the perimeter of the Orange Coast College men's basketball team's zone, it is sophomore Will Ligon that prompts Pirates' opponents to frequently utter "ouch" on the OCC offensive end.

Ligon made seven of nine second-half field-goal attempts to produce 19 of his 30 points after intermission and help OCC defeat nonconference visitor Moorpark, 64-57, in the Pirates' home opener Friday.

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Ligon, a 6-foot-2 guard, finished 11 of 17 from the field, including five of nine from three-point range, to help OCC post its first home win since the 2009-10 season. He produced more than half of the winners' 35 second-half points, which allowed the Pirates (4-7) to overcome a 36-29 halftime deficit.

"Will made some big shots for us," OCC Coach Steve Spencer said. "He is a hell of a shooter and some guys got him open with some picks."

Ligon missed his first shot and later had three straight misfires, before netting his final two shots of the first half. He netted a pair of three-pointers to start the second half and added another basket to make it five straight field-goal tries. After a three-point miss, he netted four of his final five shots and added a pair of free throws to help OCC win for just the second time in its last seven contests.

"I was always told to shoot until you make it," said Ligon, who has led the team in scoring since arriving from Centennial High in Corona. "And once you make it, keep shooting until you miss."

While Ligon was controlling things on the offensive end, OCC's frenetic substitution pattern was helping the Pirates' sell out on defense. The results were impressive after the break, as Moorpark made just six of 24 field-goal tries in the final 20 minutes (25%), including missing all nine of its shots from three-point range.

Moorpark had shot 46.4% in the first half, when it also earned an edge in rebounding (15-14) and turnovers committed (seven to OCC's eight).

OCC shot 52.6% in the first half and, thanks to Ligon, stayed relatively hot the rest of the way to finish at 50% from the floor.

In addition to its defensive intensity, OCC increased its rebounding presence after halftime. Eric Stockstill, a 6-7 freshman reserve, had seven of his eight rebounds after halftime and 6-5 freshman Zach Matar had three of his five boards after the break.

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