Tigers power past Tritons
Thiam scores game-high 23 in MCC victory
An obvious height advantage only went so far as the give the Marshalltown Community College men’s basketball team a perceived superiority over visiting Iowa Central.
The Tigers had to use their position of power the right way, and they did enough of it to put away the Tritons on Monday night.
Mohamed Thiam scored a game-high 23 points and the MCC men’s basketball team used its dominant post presence to score both inside and out, outlasting Iowa Central 86-72 in a cross-divisional game between Iowa Community College Athletic Conference foes.
The Tigers (2-0), built to compete in the Division I side of the league, had too much size for Iowa Central (1-1) but didn’t force the issue when the shots weren’t there. MCC went 11-for-22 from 3-point range with an efficient second-half performance to push past a smaller but faster Triton contingent.
“That’s going to be the plan on a given night is to try to use our size, and not only that but the few guys that came make a 3-pointer,” said MCC coach Brynjar Brynjarsson. “I thought at times we shared the ball very well, found some people that were open.
“Just because the size is there doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always going to be scored in there. The outside guys have got to make our inside guys better and our inside guys have to make our outside guys better. That’s the big picture.”
Brynjarsson pointed to a late possession with the Tigers protecting a 17-point lead with three minutes remaining where the ball found its way into Thiam in the post. After the double-team arrived, Thiam made a pass out to the corner, and two passes later Goran Vidovic was looking at a wide-open 3-pointer that he swished.
The lead safely back at 20, MCC could breathe a bit easier, but full-on relaxation was too much. Iowa Central racked up seven-straight points to close to within 13, 81-68, with 1:50 left to go.
“We’re getting better, but we’ve got a long ways to go,” Brynjarsson said. “We missed a bunch of bunnies, and I just thing we played a little sloppily and a lit careless toward the end to where we allowed them to have this hope of getting back in the game.”
The Tigers led by as many as 18 points during a dominant first half, but the Tritons toughened up as halftime neared. Iowa Central outscored MCC 17-8 over the last 5:21 before intermission to grind within nine, and back-and-forth basketall ensued from there.
Marshalltown never scored more than five points consecutively in the second half, but the Tritons didn’t either until the late surge cut into MCC’s largest advantage of the night.
“We talk a lot about getting three stops in a row [on defense] and we were able to do that quite a bit, and slowly but surely we got that lead a little bigger and bigger and bigger,” Brynjarsson said. “We allowed them to cut it to 10, so we’ve just got to be smart about how we move the ball and who’s taking the shot, who’s going to play their role.”
On this night, nearly all the Tigers had chances at scoring and 10 of them did. The sophomore forward scored 15 of his 23 in the second half, going 7-for-13 from the field after the break. Freshman center Eduardo Lane added eight of his 11 points in the second half, including a powerful dunk that also yielded a technical foul for hanging on the rim.
Freshman point guard Oscar Tao led the way with five assists and tallied all of his 10 points in the first half, and his replacement Eric Ting finished with eight points. JJ Foster also had eight points before he was beset with foul trouble, and Vidovic added seven points and a team-leading nine rebounds.
“We’re building a team for our conference and early on we’re probably not going to run into many teams that have our size,” Brynjarsson said, “but we’ve got to figure out how to guard them and they’ve got to figure out how to guard us.”
The Tigers won’t have long to look back at areas for improvement as they hit the road tonight for a cross-divisional game against Southwestern CC in Creston.
IOWA CENTRAL (1-1) — Crost 6-11 5-6 18, Webb 6-10 2-3 14, Bailey 3-10 4-4 13, Shannon 0-3 0-0 0, Akamarmoi 0-4 3-6 3, Hawkins 1-2 4-4 6, Kramer 2-7 0-0 6, Etheredge 2-2 0-0 6, Dolce 1-1 0-0 2, Jenkins 1-1 0-0 2, Kephart 0-1 0-0 0, Jegede 1-2 0-0 2, Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS 23-54 18-23 72.
MCC (2-0) — Foster 3-4 0-0 8, Kao 4-8 0-0 10, Thiam 10-23 0-0 23, Vidovic 3-5 0-0 7, Karadan 1-5 1-1 3, Coffi 1-1 2-2 4, Word 0-1 0-0 0, Ting 3-7 0-0 8, Ndiaye 2-3 3-5 7, Edwards 1-1 2-2 5, Smith 0-1 0-0 0, Lane 4-7 3-6 11. TOTALS 32-66 11-16 86.
Halftime–MCC 40-31. 3-Point Goals–IC 8-22 (Bailey 3-8, Etheredge 2-2, Kramer 2-5, Croft 1-3, Akamarmoi 0-1, Kephart 0-1, Shannon 0-2); MCC 11-22 (Thiam 3-6, Foster 2-2, Ting 2-4, Kao 2-6, Edwards 1-1, Vidovic 1-2, Smith 0-1). Rebounds–IC 29 (Bailey, Hawkins 5); MCC 34 (Vidovic 9). Assists–IC 13 (five with 3); MCC 13 (Kao 5). Total Fouls–IC 20, MCC 20. Fouled out–Bailey. Technical Foul–Lane.