MCC squeezes out 6th straight
Missed free throws down the stretch, an eight-point outing from its leading scorer and a minus-seven margin on the boards.
Hardly a recipe for victory.
The Marshalltown Community College men’s basketball team overcame all those ingredients to hang on for its sixth straight victory in a 59-56 triumph over Iowa Central at the Student Activity Center Wednesday.
Lamont Adair’s putback extended the Tigers’ advantage to 58-55 with 37 seconds left before Iowa Central’s David Andersen and MCC’s Jamyles Coleman each split a pair of free throws. Jesse Jones’ potential game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer bounced high off the rim and hit the bottom of the shot clock before falling innocently to the court as the Tigers earned their third victory over the Tritons this season.
“We had to scratch and claw and find a way to win,” MCC coach Brynjar Brynjarsson said.
“We found a way to rebound a couple times down the stretch and we took care of the ball. Iowa Central came in here and played a hell of game.”
Matej Delinac led MCC (21-7) with 17 points and Troidell Carter – coming off an ankle injury – added 12.
“Matej kept us in the game when we were struggling to score in the second half,” Brynjarsson said.
Marshalltown needed every point it could get as leading scorer Chris Caird (18.0 ppg) was limited to eight points on 2-for-10 shooting and the Tigers made just 3-of-10 free throws in the in the second half and finished 6-for-14 in the game.
The Tigers nursed a two-point lead midway through the second half before Delinac scored nine straight points and Caird added a trey to equal MCC’s largest lead of the game at 54-47 with 8:13 to play. It was one of the few times Caird could find an opening from the Tritons’ smothering defense.
“They just stuck on him really well,” Brynjarsson said of Iowa Central’s defense.
“They didn’t come off him on every penetration on the same side so there was no draw and kick there. At the same time, Chris has to do a better job of setting screens himself to get open.”
Andersen, who led the Tritons (15-11) with 17 points and seven boards, split a pair from the line to bring the Tritons within 56-55 with 54 seconds left before Adair came up with his timely rebound and basket.
Iowa Central earned a 37-31 advantage on the glass, but made just 2-of-17 attempts from beyond the arc. Rhys Elliot added 13 points and Jones had 12 as the Tritons lost their second straight.
Caird grabbed a team-high eight rebounds for MCC, while Delinac had six. Delinac helped the Tigers take an early 9-2 lead though Iowa Central tied it at 15 and trailed just 29-25 at the half.
Except for the game’s first basket, the Tigers never trailed as Iowa Central stuck around the rest of night.
“It’s a win and we’ll take it,” Brynjarsson said.
“But we’ve got to put it behind us because we have the biggest game that we’ve played so far this year coming up on Saturday.
The Tigers host their regular season home finale against NJCAA No. 9 ranked Iowa Western Saturday at 7 p.m. The Reivers claimed the first meeting 79-66 in Council Bluffs Jan. 23.
The Tigers won the previous two meetings over Iowa Central, including a 65-61 win Nov. 2 in Burlington and a 64-52 triumph at the William R. Bear Classic Tournament Dec. 14 in Freeport, Ill. … Carter fouled out with 54 seconds to play.