The Marshalltown Community College men's basketball team opened up the 2013-14 campaign with an impressive offensive display as the Tigers defeated Quakerdale Prep Academy 96-80 at the Student Activity Center on Monday night.
MCC freshman Marlon Williams led all scorers with 19 points.
The Tigers had difficulty with the Eagles as Quakerdale held an early eight-point lead. The Eagles continued to hold a convincing lead late in first stanza until Williams sparked a run for MCC. Williams connected on six straight points to cut Quakerdale's lead to 40-35. A 3-point shot from Guilherme Verardo and a pair of free throws from Merdic Green tied the game at 40.
Williams was able to bring the crowd to its feet with a fast-break dunk to give the Tigers a 42-40 lead, their first advantage of the night. Troidell Carter added a bucket just before the horn sounded for intermission as the Tigers went into the locker room leading 44-41.
MCC maintained a steady lead to open the second half but the Eagles hung with their counterparts, eventually taking a 55-54 lead with 14:15 remaining. The two teams battled back and forth over the next 10 minutes as MCC held a slim 79-75 lead at the 5:57 mark.
From there on out, the Tigers rattled off 17 of the next 22 points to take its first victory of the year. The Tigers hit eight of their final 10 free throws down the stretch to hold off the Eagles.
Williams provided the hot hand off the bench for the Tigers, going 7-for-9 from the field and 5-for-6 from the charity stripe. Williams paced the Tigers in the first half, scoring 13 of his 19.
Carter connected on six of his eight free-throw attempts on the night while grabbing five rebounds. Sophomore point guard Raheim Holloway contributed on both ends of the court for the Tigers, grabbing a team-high nine rebounds, including seven on the defensive end. Holloway also contributed three steals to go along with seven points and two assists.
Jamal Gatali scored 14 points, including 7-of-8 at the line to go along with six rebounds and four blocks. Kenny Strong hit three 3-point shots to finish with 11 points and Terrell Clyburn chipped in 10.
The Tigers hit 35-44 free throws on the night for a 79.5 percentage. MCC shot just 64.2 percent from the line last year.
Quakerdale was limited to just two three point shots in nine attempts on the night. MCC's defensive pressure was able to force 18 turnovers which led to 13 points for the Tigers.
Next up for the Tigers will be a trip to Indian Hills Community College where MCC will take part in the Reed Overhead Doors Classic Friday and Saturday. The Tigers will take on the College of Southern Idaho, ranked No. 13 in the preseason NJCAA Division I poll on Friday, and Mid-Michigan Community College Saturday.