FREEPORT, Ill. - One week after its debut in the NJCAA Division I national rankings was succeeded by its first loss of the season, the Marshalltown Community College men's basketball team followed up its dip in the ratings by returning to the win column.
The MCC men led by as many as 22 points in the second half and finished off Lake Land College, 66-51, in the first round of the William R. Bear Classic at Highland Community College.
Jamal Gatali led the No. 24-ranked Tigers (12-1) with 17 points, Chris Caird had 14 and Troidell Carter 12 as Marshalltown moved into today's 11 a.m. semifinals against Iowa Central. The winner advances to the 9 p.m. championship game, while the loser plays at 7 p.m.
MCC head coach Brynjar Brynjarsson credited his bench with helping the Tigers survive foul trouble late in the first half while maintaining the lead. Marshalltown was up by 12 before some of its starters were saddled with their third personal fouls, and the next group in got the Tigers to the half with a 30-25 lead.
"It was a hell of a defensive effort," Brynjarsson said. "The guys came in and they rebounded, they took care of the basketball and they were scoring as a team."
MCC opened the second half on a 7-0 run to get back in front by 12 and eased to the double-digit win.
Matej Delinac contributed eight points for the Tigers, while Rahiem Holloway had six and Jamyles Coleman five.
"It was a positive game from a team effort standpoint," Brynjarsson said.
Devin Carter led Lake Land (6-4) with 22 points, but the Lakers suffered their third consecutive loss.