Tigers swat Yellowjackets in opener
Through the first 20 minutes of play on Thursday night in the Marshalltown Community College men’s basketball team’s season opener, the Tigers had their hands full with the Graceland University junior varsity squad.
Despite a hot start that saw MCC jump out to an early 15-5 lead, the Yellowjackets clawed back into contention and ended the half only down 33-29.
Once the second half got underway, however, it was clear the Tigers had fully awoken, as they scored 60 total points in the half to come away with a 93-63 win over the Graceland junior varsity.
MCC head coach Brynjar Brynjarsson said the difference in his team’s offensive in the first and second half was simply the ability to score the ball.
“The biggest thing in the first half was we came out and I thought we took some questionable shots in some areas,” Brynjarsson said. “We were 2-for-12 from the 3, we also didn’t pound the ball inside and we also had some foul trouble. We changed that obviously in the second half.”
As Brynjarsson said, the Tigers struggled behind arc in the first half, with Oscar Kao hitting the only two 3-pointers for MCC in the period. A major change that affected the score was the Tigers’ ability to score down low in the second half, as big men Mohamed Thiam, Berk Karadan and Eduardo Lane all finished in the double-digits in scoring.
Thiam, who led the team with a double-double of 19 points and 16 rebounds, said it’s always good to start the schedule off with a win.
“We play hard, we play together and we play to have fun,” Thiam said. “We try to do a couple of things well and we win games. It is very important to win the first game, we are happy to win it.”
Thiam was a force throughout the matchup, pulling down rebounds with ease and finding his shot from the early going. Brynjarsson said the way Thiam played was crucial to his team’s success, but ultimately they will need someone else to step up and pull down more rebounds.
“Mohamed obviously carried a big load of it today with his 19 and 16 rebounds, but we’ve got to get somebody else on the glass with Mohamed,” Brynjarsson said. “It was nice to see Eduardo score and score around the rim, in nine minutes he had 16 points and that was great, but we’ve got to get better on the glass as a team and not just have Mohamed grab 45 percent of the rebounds.”
Both Lane and Karadan only had two points in the first half, but both came alive in the second. Karadan finished with 18 points in just 12-minutes played, while Lane had 16 in just nine minutes on the court. All three Karadan, Lane and Thiam were effective passing the ball out of the post as well, and Karadan said that is all due to the team’s familiarity with each other in practice.
“We practice that all the time, and we know who is where,” Karadan said. “When we play we know each other, so that kind of helps with practice too.”
While the offense was rolling, it was the effectiveness of the Tigers defense that truly secured the win over Graceland. The Yellowjackets only shot 39 percent from the floor for the game, and Brynjarsson said had it not been for some foul trouble, his defense would have been the highlight of the win.
“What I was pleased with is that we were showing glimpses of what we’ve been working on in practice from the standpoint of what we are trying to do defensively,” he said. “We got them sped up at times, we got them out of rhythm a little bit, and that’s really what it came down to. I didn’t have a whole lot of complaints defensively except for some breakdowns that can be fixed by watching film and so forth. Overall it was a pretty solid effort from a group of guys that have been working pretty hard.”
Teams generally see more fouling at the beginning of a season as the players get used to officiating, so Brynjarsson said that shouldn’t be an issue moving forward.
“We had 18 fouls for the total but we only had six or seven in the second half, so that’s a positive,” Brynjarsson said, “but at the same time fouling is something that will be a struggle for most teams, especially how the game is going to be called here early on.”
Up next for the MCC men is another home match on Monday, as the Tigers welcome in Iowa Central for a game starting at 7 p.m.
Marshalltown CC 93, Graceland JV 63
GRACELAND JV (63) — Coleman 3-9 10-10 16, Homza 3-9 0-0 7, Schweighause 2-7 3-3 7, Gonzalez 5-9 0-0 13, McMains 4-7 1-2 10, Finch 0-1 0-1 0, Zimmerman 0-2 0-0 0, Newberry 0-1 0-0 0, Rinne 4-8 0-0 10. TOTALS 21-53 14-16 63.
MARSHALLTOWN CC (93) — Foster 1-4 0-0 2, Kao 5-8 0-0 13, Thiam 8-17 3-4 19, Vidovic 1-2 1-2 3, Lane 8-9 0-1 16, Word 2-2 0-0 5, Ting 2-7 2-2 7, Thorsson 0-0 0-0 0, Edwards 4-9 0-0 8, Smith 0-2 0-0 0, Tedesjo 1-2 0-0 2, Karadan 8-10 2-3 18. TOTALS 40-72 8-12 93.
Halftime–MCC 33, GJV 29. 3-Point Goals–GJV 7-19 (Gonzalez 3-4, Rinne 2-3, McMains 1-2, Monza 1-4, Newberry 0-1, Coleman 0-2, Shweighause 0-3), MCC 5-18 (Kao 3-4, Word 1-1, Ting 1-3, Foster 0-1, Vidovic 0-1, Smith 0-2, Thiam 0-3, Edwards 0-3). Fouled Out–None. Rebounds–GJV 17 (three tied with 4), MCC 42 (Thiam 16). Assists–GJV 10 (Coleman 4), MCC 25 (Kao 8). Total Fouls–GJV 15, MCC 18.