Au revoir, Reivers
MCC men avenge conference loss to Iowa Western
After the first five minutes of the Marshalltown Community College men’s basketball team’s game against ICCAC foe Iowa Western on Wednesday night, it seemed nothing would go the Tigers’ way.
The Reivers started off shooting the ball well and Tigers leading scorer Mohamed Thiam, who was recently named ICCAC Player of the Week, had already picked up two early fouls.
That was the turning point for MCC, however, as it went on a 7-0 run to come back from down 15-4 to just 15-11 and then closed out the first half on a 22-7 run to take a 35-29 lead into halftime, a lead that would only grow as the Tigers went on to win 77-59.
Marshalltown head coach Brynjar Brynjarsson said the way his guys responded after Thiam had to sit was incredible, and he told the guys as much at the half.
“That was absolutely fantastic and that’s what I told the guys in the locker room at halftime,” Brynjarsson said. “It doesn’t matter who is out there, we are all one with how we are playing for each other and everybody is having fun with what we are doing and how hard we are playing whether they are on the court or not. That’s the key and right there we had a little turning point in our season in the sense of believing in each other and believing what we can do.”
Of the nine Tigers (15-8, 2-3) who played, eight of them finished with at least two points, with freshman Oscar Kao yet again leading the way with a game-high 29 points on an impressive 5-for-7 line from 3-point land.
Much like MCC’s first ICCAC win over Northeast last Saturday, Brynjarsson said his guys played well and played for each other, which is all he can ask.
“I just thought our team did an outstanding job no matter who was in there again, just like Saturday,” Brynjarsson said. “Somebody did something for us, and when the guys came in they gave us something.”
After entering halftime with all the momentum, the Tigers kept it by going on an 8-2 run immediately out of the break, led by Kao and Thiam. Kao scored 15 of his 29 in the second half, while Thiam returned to form with 14 of his 16 points in the final 20 minutes.
Goran Vidovic, who finished third on the team with nine points, said this was a ‘perfect’ night from his squad.
“Everything went fine, everything went perfect for us,” the sophomore from Novi Sad, Serbia, said. “Look at the scoreboard, you can see on the scoreboard we beat them. They beat us there and we beat them here, now everyone knows we can be perfect. I think we showed what we needed to show.”
Vidovic was mainly key on the defensive end, where he an the rest of the Tigers held Iowa Western (19-5, 3-2) to just 35.5 percent shooting. Brynjarsson said that kind of defensive intensity is a huge thing to see as the team nudges ever closer to the postseason.
Isaiah Wade and Decardo Day each led the Reivers with 14 points, while Patrick Dembley was the only other Iowa Western player in double figures with 10.
“Defensively I thought we were really strong, we held them to 35 percent and were even on the glass,” he said. “Our effort was there, just like it’s been in practice, and we have just been working hard and that’s really transporting right over to the court.”
Probably the most noticeable difference from the MCC men over the last two conference wins has been how fired up everyone on the team gets for good play. The bench is involved, the coaches are amped, and of course the players on the court feed off of that.
Brynjarsson said this team has been through a lot this season, after going 2-3 in December and starting ICCAC play 0-3, but they have rounded out well now and are working on avenging all of their losses from the first round of conference games.
“I am really happy for the kids, they deserve that because they have hung in here with me a little bit through some tough times of not playing well,” Brynjarsson said. “Right now we move on, wake up tomorrow morning and start focusing on Southeastern.”
On the flip side, Vidovic said he and the rest of his teammates are happy to be playing the way Brynjarsson wants to see, and they are ready to take on the rest of the ICCAC.
“I think we played tough like coach B expects us to play. We played tough and really hard so they couldn’t score on us,” Vidovic said. “We ran our offense so we scored on them, and they didn’t score on us. Like the scoreboard said, we beat them by 18, and I am proud of all the guys. I am proud of each and every one of them.”
Up next for MCC, the Tiger men travel to West Burlington to take on Southeastern, a team that narrowly beat Marshalltown 71-66 when they last faced on Jan. 17. That game is set for a 7 p.m. tip on Saturday on the Southeastern Community College campus.
Marshalltown CC 77,
IOWA WESTERN CC (19-5, 3-2) — Wade 5-10 4-4 14, Day 5-12 2-2 14, Smith 2-3 1-1 5, Dembley 3-12 3-5 10, Ugboh 2-2 0-2 4, Shabazz 4-9 0-0 9, Diaz 0-4 0-0 0, Lewis 1-2 0-0 3, Ayangma 0-1 0-0 0, Doss 0-3 0-1 0, Chukwuemeke 0-4 0-0 0. TOTALS 22-62 10-14 59.
MARSHALLTOWN CC (15-8, 2-3) — Kao 11-15 2-3 29, Thiam 7-10 0-0 16, Word 0-4 2-3 6, Ndiaye 3-3 0-0 6, Vidovic 2-3 4-4 9, Foster 0-1 0-0 0, Edwards 2-4 0-1 4, Lane 0-1 2-2 2, Karadan 4-7 0-0 9. TOTALS 29-48 10-13 77.
Halftime–MCC 35-29. 3-Point Goals–Iowa Western 5-20 (Day 2-5, Lewis 1-1, Shabazz 1-3, Dembley 1-7, Doss 0-1), MCC 9-17 (Kao 5-7, Thiam 2-3, Karadan 1-1, Vidovic 1-2, Edwards 0-1, Word 0-3). Rebounds–Iowa Western 28 (Wade 10), MCC 28 (Thiam 5). Assists–Iowa Western 8 (Dembley 5), MCC 14 (Kao, Thiam 4). Total Fouls–Iowa Western 20, MCC 18. Fouled Out–none.