MCC upsets third-ranked, shorthanded Indian Hills

OTTUMWA – It had been a long time since Marshalltown Community College’s men’s basketball team had won at Indian Hills. It also had been two years since the Warriors dropped a game on their home floor.

Both happened Saturday night as the Tigers got 21 points from Chris Caird and 20 more from Jamal Gatali and upset NJCAA No. 3 Indian Hills, 88-78.

“It was a really good group effort,” MCC coach Brynjar Brynjarsson said.

It was the second win ever in Ottumwa for the Tigers and the first victory since Feb. 16, 2008. The Warriors had won 13 straight in the series before the loss to the Tigers Saturday.

The Warriors were playing with a short-handed roster after five players were suspended following a postgame brawl with Southeastern last week. Two of their top scorers – Ronald Ross and Dustin Hogue – were included in the fight and have missed the past two games.

Even so, the Warriors still had three guys on the court who were averaging double-figures and the program was working with a long win streak at home.

“Yeah they had eight dressed out and five guys suspended, but you can’t take anything away from our guys,” Brynjarsson said. “They played hard and executed well. It is still a tough environment. We maintained our composure and shared the basketball well.”

Gatali also had seven rebounds to go along with his 20 points, while Caird scored 17 of his 21 in the second half and added five boards. Troidell Carter also had 12 for the Tigers, who improved to 22-8 after the win. Matej Delinac finished with 11 points, while Rahiem Holloway added eight points and a team-high six assists.

Jameel McKay scored 21 points and had 16 boards to lead the Warriors, who are now 26-4 overall. Indian Hills has dropped two straight since the suspensions were handed down. The Warriors also lost at Moberly by 20 in their previous contest.

Martin Green-Dixon scored 17, Jelan Kendrick had 12 and Trinson White chipped 11 for IHCC, but it wasn’t enough to keep the long win streak against the Tigers intact.

The Tigers, who led by as many as 11 in the game, hit nine 3-pointers in the win and connected on 19-of-25 from the foul line. Indian Hills was just 11-for-16 from the charity stripe.

Indian Hills may also be ineligible to play in the Region XI Tournament this week because of violations committed during the fallout of the brawl with Southeastern. A final decision on that will be made Monday by the NJCAA.

If Indian Hills does not compete in the tournament, the Tigers would travel to Southeastern as the No. 3 seed. If Indian Hills does play, MCC will head to nationally ranked Iowa Western as the No. 3 seed.

The play-in game between the fourth and fifth seeds will be Tuesday, while second-round games kick off Thursday with the higher seeds as the host sites.