The Tigers still seemed to be on Thanksgiving break early Saturday night.
Though once they shored up their defense, the feast was on.
Fueled by a 25-2 surge late in the first half, the Marshalltown Community College men's basketball team (10-0) ran away from County Upper Academy in a 103-36 rout at the Student Activity Center.
T-R PHOTO BY TYLER STRAND
MCC’s Kenny Strong glides past County Upper Academy’s Charlie Fitch, left, and Jordan Cook (7) on his way to the hoop Saturday at the Student Activity Center. Leading 28-19 midway through the first half, the Tigers pulled away to claim a 56-22 advantage at the break.
"We weren't denying like we normally do and we fouled too much in the first half," said Tigers coach Brynjar Brynjarsson.
"Once we got the fouling out of the game we were able to get some transition going."
Leading 28-19 just past the mid-point of the opening frame, the Tigers forced a five and half minute scoring drought for the visitors while rattling off 19 unanswered points to claim a 56-22 advantage at intermission.
COUNTY UPPER (1-3) - Watt 0-3 2-4 2, Browne 2-5 1-2 5, Defreotas 6-14 5-6, Fitch 1-1 0-0 2, T. Andrews 2-7 4-4 9, Moyo 0-2 1-2 1, J. Andrews 0-3 0-0 0, Cook 0-4 0-0 0, Oliver 0-0 0-0 0, Izediunor 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS 11-39 13-18 36.
MCC (10-0) - Caird 10-13 0-1 23, Gatali 1-3 2-2 5, Carter 1-4 1-2 3, Holloway 1-1 3-3 5, Delinac 3-5 0-0 7, Clyburn 4-4 0-0 8, Kelly 0-0 0-0 0, Williams 6-11 2-3 14, Robinson 2-5 0-0 4, Edwards 6-7 0-0 12, Adair 3-4 1-2 7, Coleman 4-7 1-2 9, Strong 1-2 0-0 2, Brue 2-5 0-0 4. TOTALS 44-71 9-13 103.
Halftime-MCC 56, CUA 22. 3-Point Goals-CUA 1-6 (T. Andrews 1-2, J. Andrews 0-2, Cook 0-2), MCC 6-14 (Caird 3-6, Gatali 1-2, Delinac 1-2, Coleman 1-2, Brue 0-1, Robinson 0-1) Fouled Out-None. Rebounds-CUA 12 (Defreotas 4), MCC (Delinac 6). Assists-CUA 6 (Defreotas 2), MCC 13 (Holloway 3, Delinac 3). Total Fouls-CUA 11, MCC 19.
Elliot Defreotas knocked down a pair of free throws to pull County Upper Academy within 35-21 before the Tigers got rolling.
A Marlon Williams dunk and a baseline jumper from Chris Caird, who poured in 17 of his game-high 23 points in the opening stanza, spurred the surge. Terrell Clyburn punctuated the 19-0 blitz with a slam before Lynn Moyo stopped the bleeding by hitting one of two at the charity stripe.
The visitors went without a field goal for the final 10 minutes of the half and scored over a third of their first-half points (8 of 22) from the line, which also slowed the Tigers' attack at the other end.
"Every time they shoot a free throw, we're going to be running a half court set," said Brynjarsson, explaining how costly the fouls were in disrupting the Tigers' offensive game.
Tallying 23 steals and forcing 35 turnovers, the Tigers found numerous high-percentage shots on the break converting 62 percent of its field goals (44-71) in the game. The dominance extended to the glass, where MCC held a 35-12 advantage.
Williams contributed 14 points and five steals as nine different players scored five points or more for MCC. Stephon Edwards added 12 points, while Jamyles Coleman had nine and Clyburn had eight. Matej Delinac chipped in seven points and six boards. Lamont Adair also had seven points and was one of 13 Tigers to score. Defreotas led County Upper Academy with 17 points as the visitors earned 13 of their 36 points from the charity stripe.
Despite the team's undefeated mark, Brynjarsson believes the record carries little bearing as his team still has two-thirds of its season to play.
"We're 10-0 but it doesn't matter anymore," said Brynjarsson.
"We can't become too complacent and satisfied. We need to continue to get better and grow as a team."
The sledding gets tougher for the Tigers which play their next four games away from home starting with Kirkwood Wednesday at 7 p.m. MCC follows it with a road game at Ellsworth before competing in the William R Bear Classic Tournament in Freeport, Ill.
Regardless of opponent, the Tigers must bring the same key principles that have carried them through the year.
"We have to understand what we need to do on a daily basis - play hard, defend and play unselfish. If we do those things we have a chance in every game," said Brynjarsson.