Second-half run helps push Tigers past No. 16 NIACC

MASON CITY – Marshalltown Community College sophomore Raheim Holloway was virtually silent for the first 20 minutes against North Iowa Area Community College on Wednesday night.

He made sure his presence was felt in the second half though.

Scoring 13 of his 15 points in the final 20 minutes, Holloway helped kick off a game-clinching 14-3 run early in the second half and then his back-to-back 3-pointers put the game away for the Tigers as the MCC men jumped past the .500 mark after an 85-77 win over the NJCAA Division II No. 16 ranked Trojans.

Holloway was just 4-of-11 from the floor but all three of his 3-pointers came in the second half. He also had six assists in the victory.

Jamal Gatali led the way for the Tigers (5-4) with 21 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks and three steals, while Tyrese Hoxter added 13 points and a team-high seven assists.

Merdic Green and Troidell Carter also had 12 points as the Tigers shot 45 percent from the floor. The Tigers buried six treys in the second half.

Carter also added nine boards, and the Tigers won the rebounding battle, 48-29, in collecting their fifth straight win over NIACC.

The Tigers got off to a slow start and trailed by as many as 10 in the first half. A 13-2 run to end the opening stanza allowed MCC to go into the locker room at halfitme up just one.

The momentum carried over into the second half.

After five points from Green and a dunk by Gatali evened the score at 50-all, the Tigers went on a 14-3 run that was highlighted by two triples from Holloway and Kenny Strong and a 3-point play from Gatali.

The Trojans eventually closed to within three after back-to-back 3-pointers by Matthew Don and Conor Lang.

That is when Holloway began to take over though. The sophomore from St. Louis connected from long range on two consecutive Tiger possessions to push the MCC lead back to seven. The lead eventually blossomed to 11 following a Carter layup and a Holloway putback.

NIACC hit 10 3-pointers in the game and only that kept it close down the stretch.

Hoxter eventually closed out the win for MCC after making 3-of-4 from the line and converting a layup in the final 2 minutes. Holloway’s two free throws with 44 seconds left pushed the Tiger advantage to nine.

Sam Skogen was 8-of-11 from the floor and scored a game-high 22 points for NIACC (10-3), while Don added 19. David Humphries scored 14 and Lang had 11 but the Tigers held the Trojans well under their season average of around 90 points per game.

Former AGWSR prep Josh Bagley missed his only shot from the field for the Trojans.

The Tigers continue their long stretch on the road with a trip to Fremont, Ill., this weekend. MCC will play in the Highland Community College Tournament, taking on Augustana College at 3 p.m. Friday. The Tigers also will play in the championship or consolation game on Saturday.