Tigers can’t get over hump in loss to Southeastern
The Tigers didn’t push the panic button. They didn’t quit either.
But after climbing all the way back from a 15-point deficit to pull within one, the Marshalltown Community College men’s basketball team couldn’t get over the hump in a 66-54 loss to Southeastern CC in Iowa Community College Athletic Conference Division I play Wednesday.
Jordan Stevens delivered 15 of his 20 points in the second half to guide the Blackhawks (15-4, 1-0) to their sixth straight win, though MCC coach Brynjar Brynjarsson pointed back to the first half where his team began to dig itself too deep of a hole.
“We gave up too many easy baskets early in the game,” MCC coach Brynjar Brynjarsson said.”It kind of allowed them to get confidence in the way we were guarding them. Giving up 35 points in the first half was just too much, that was the difference.”
Troidell Carter’s corner 3 brought the Tigers within 55-54 with 2:48 to play but the Blackhawks scored the final 12 points of the contest including nine from Stevens. The leading scorer in ICCAC Division I put back his own miss after Carter’s triple and spun to the basket for two more points when Carter’s next trey rimmed out. Stevens put the game out of reach with a three-point play and a couple technical free throws at 65-54 with 34 ticks on the clock.
MCC (9-9, 0-2) trailed 46-31 less than three minutes into the second half before mounting a 15-2 surge to trim the gap to two at 8:35. Carter converted a 3-point play to draw the score to 52-51 and put the Blackhawks on the brink a couple possessions later with his trey. Though the frenetic rally took too much out of the Tigers to overtake the lead.
“When you have to fight back from being down 15, it takes a lot out of you,” Brynjarsson said. “We gave up 17 offensive rebounds and a lot of 50-50 balls we just couldn’t quite bring in. We scratched, clawed and tried everything we could and that’s what we’re going to do every night.”
Carter led the Tigers with 16 points, five rebounds and two blocks, while Mike Rodriguez energized the 1-3-1 defense with four steals to go along with 12 points and seven assists.
Merdic Green added 11 points and Jamal Gatali pulled down a team-high eight rebounds, though Southeastern dominated the glass overall, 47-28.
Stevens and Tajay Henry (12 points) each had eight rebounds for the Blackhawks and Warren Jones grabbed seven to go with nine points. Josh Ross contributed nine points off the bench as Southeastern overcame a 29 percent shooting effort in the second half after hitting 52 percent in the first.
The Tigers claimed a 12-7 advantage four minutes in before Southeastern ran off the next nine points and took a 35-27 lead into intermission.
“We have to come out with more energy from the get-go,” said Carter.
Just as the Tigers didn’t give in when they were down and out Wednesday, they’ve refused to let up after losing six players from the squad over winter break due to rule violations.
“We’re closer together now,” said Rodriguez. “We’re more of a family, so we’re more focused.”
And that family has completely bought in to what their head coach is teaching them.
“At the end of the day, they’re looking at me and believing what I’m saying,” Brynjarsson said.
“They’re believing in what we’re doing on offense and defense. If we continue to do that, we’ll be just fine.”
The Tigers travel to Northeast CC Saturday for a ICCAC contest at 7 p.m.
Shoring up the rebounding and not allowing the easy buckets that hurt the Tigers Wednesday will be essential moving forward.
“Our margin for error is so small that we can’t give up an easy basket,” said Brynjarrson.”Our goal is to control the tempo of the game and if we do that, we’ll have a chance in every single game.”
Mike Rodriguez and Troidell Carter were named the ICCAC Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week respectively Tuesday Jordan Stevens entered as the ICCAC D-I leader in scoring at 16.9 points per game, while Walter Jones is third (16.6)Terrell Clyburn played five minutes in his first game of 2014 after being limited by a hamstring injury.