Tigers end 11-game cold spell
MCC men pull away to defeat Northeast 77-54
The appearance was that of a team working toward a common goal.
The result reflected it.
The Marshalltown Community College men’s basketball team ended an 11-game losing streak in anticlimactic fashion, scoring the final 16 points of Sunday’s 77-54 triumph over Northeast CC in an Iowa Community College Athletic Conference clash inside the Student Actvity Center.
The Tigers (5-17, 1-2) won for the first time since Nov. 23, 2019, and it looked like the collective sum of all of its parts.
“We’ve played three conference games now and I think each of them we’ve gotten better,” said MCC first-year head coach Ryan Flack. “That first one that didn’t go our way with Southeastern, we were a different team than early on — just taking better shots, playing for each other more, and there’s a correlation too because we’ve been practicing better and that’s been more consistent.”
Marshalltown allowed a season-low 54 points to a Northeast (11-8, 1-1) that was playing without the conference’s top scorer in Emmette Page, who averages 23.8 points per game. Flack noticed that Page hadn’t made the more than four-hour bus trip to Marshalltown when Northeast arrived, but didn’t clue his squad in.
“I didn’t tell the guys because I wanted to make sure we kept our focus,” Flack said, “so that we still had the mindset that we have to do our game plan out there with or without that guy. They have other guys who can stretch the floor and they have length.
“It reminded me of another team we played earlier in the year, same situation, where the other team showed up with seven guys and we saw that and thought we had the advantage and that game ended up being a two-point loss.”
The Tigers’ 2-3 zone defense zeroed in on its job and held Northeast to 80 points or fewer for the fourth time this season — all losses for the Hawks. They shot 16-for-44 from the field (37.8 percent) and 8-for-27 from 3-point range (29.6), though obviously reeling without their leading scorer.
MCC, meanwhile, featured an unselfish, balanced offensive attack that knocked down nearly 50 percent of its 3-point attempts (8-for-17) when it couldn’t get the ball to the low post either with the extra pass or on the dribble-drive.
Caleb Jacobs finished with a game-high 18 points for the Tigers, Quavon Blackwood had a season-high 15 points and JyDonn Griffith added a season-best 11 points in his third game of action.
Eric Amandio and Roger Guardiola both finished with nine points, Craig Philip pitched in with eight points, Derrick Paige added four points and Jacob Smith scored three as the Tigers ended their cold spell.
Blackwood, a sophomore, had his first-career double-double as well thanks to a game-high 11 rebounds.
“Now he’s healthy,” Flack said. “He did a really good job just leading the way and he’s starting to lead by example, which is what we need. Guys are playing off him a little bit and it’s the same way in practice too.
“Tonight he got 15 and 11, and for a guy who’s 5-foot-11 that’s pretty good going against guys with length. He works hard and he deserves to have a game like that.”
Blackwood kicked off a 9-0 run midway through the second half that helped the Tigers take a double-digit lead. MCC led 50-46 before the nine-point surge that featured four different scorers. Blackwood knocked down a jumper from the free-throw line, Jacobs converted a steal into a layup and Paige finished off a baseline drive with a layup. Guardiola buried his third 3-pointer to cap Marshalltown’s surge to a 13-point lead.
Northeast got back to within seven, 61-54, on back-to-back 3-pointers by Daniel Akuei, but the Hawks didn’t score for the final 4:25.
“Obviously it’s fun when you win, but we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Flack said. “We need to brush up and teams are going to make adjustments. That’s the thing about our league that is so tough.”
The Tigers are now off until Saturday, when they visit No. 4 Indian Hills for a 7 p.m. game in Ottumwa.
Marshalltown CC 77, Northeast CC 54
NORTHEAST (11-8, 2-1) — Denn 2-7 3-4 7, Amum 4-16 0-0 11, Akuei 5-6 2-2 15, Scavella 3-4 4-6 10, Moxness 2-10 3-3 9, Rollman 0-1 0-0 0, Hiser 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS 16-44 12-15 52.
MCC (5-17, 1-2) — Blackwood 6-10 0-0 15, Jacobs 8-13 1-3 18, Amandio 4-9 0-0 9, Philip 2-8 4-5 8, Smith 1-5 1-1 3, Guardiola 3-5 0-0 9, Paige 2-6 0-0 4, Scott 0-2 0-0 0, Griffith 4-4 3-5 11. TOTALS 30-62 9-14 77.
Halftime–MCC 37-29. 3-Point Goals–Northeast 8-27 (Akuei 3-4, Amum 3-10, Moxness 2-8, Rollman 0-1, Denn 0-4), MCC 8-17 (Blackwood 3-5, Guardiola 3-5, Jacobs 1-1, Amandio 1-2, Smith 0-2, Paige 0-2). Rebounds–Northeast 26 (Amum, Akuei 7), MCC 32 (Blackwood 11). Assists–Northeast 6 (Amum 4), MCC 12 (Blackwood, Guardiola 3). Total Fouls–Northeast 12, MCC 11. Fouled Out–none. Technical Foul–Northeast TEAM.