The Grand Rapids Community College Men’s Basketball team defeated the Muskegon Community College Jayhawks 103-92 Wednesday night in Gordon Hunsberger Arena.
Wednesday’s Michigan Community College Athletic Association Western Conference matchup also marked “Senior Night Out” for Grand Rapids Public Schools. GRPS and GRCC worked together to bring students from the high schools and give them an opportunity to be on a college campus and take in a college basketball game as well. Admission for the game was free and the concession stand gave away free food as a part of the event.
“I’m glad to see our whole GRCC family here tonight,” said GRCC President Bill Pink in his pregame speech to both sets of the packed bleachers. “You all are going to be treated to a great basketball game.”
Raiders Head Coach Luke Bronkema loved the atmosphere that tonight’s event brought.
“It was fun,” Bronkema said. “A big thanks goes out to Dave Selmon, (GRCC Athletic Director) Billy (Firn), I know there’s probably more people involved with it, but it was a cool atmosphere. It was definitely the most fans we’ve had since I’ve been here the last two years.”
After Pink stirred the crowd and energized them, the game tipped off and the Jayhawks came out of the gate blazing. They had a five-point lead early on and went on a run to open the game. The Raiders then went on a run of their own in the middle stages of the first half, this one was a much larger 17-6 run and that gave them the 29-24 lead.
Sophomore guard Curtis Davison was from all areas of the floor as he shot 41 percent from the field (13-31) and 25 percent from long-range (4-16). Davison made a 3-pointer that he called in the air because he, and everyone else in the gym, knew that it was going in. Davison made a number of miraculous plays during the course of the game including a layup that barely rolled in after sitting on the rim for what felt like an eternity, and that seemed to give the Raiders an edge.
The Raiders took a 46-40 lead into the locker room at halftime and seemed to be in control of the game from that point.
“We didn’t make too many adjustments,” Bronkema said. “We only made a couple adjustment on when they were screening and where they were screening. Other than that, we had a good game plan and didn’t make any adjustments.”
Freshman forward Diego Robinson notched another double-double, tonight Robinson had 18 points and 25 rebounds, 11 of those boards were on the offensive end and he was able to put most of those back into the hoop.
One of Robinson’s eight field goals came on an assist from sophomore guard Anthony McIntosh, who fired a one-handed, laser-like pass from the left wing to Robinson on the low post. Robinson finished the layup and that play seemed to give the Raiders momentum late in the game.
McIntosh played one of his best games as he shot an astounding 60 percent from the field (12-20) and 42 percent from long-range (3-7). He also added five assists and just as many rebounds to flex his sophomore leadership muscles for the Raiders.
“We just came out and tried to play our game,” McIntosh said in a post game interview. “We tried to get the pace of the game and control the pace of the game. Do what coach says and go through the play, run the play.”
As a team, the Raiders shot 45.6 percent (41-90) from the field, 28.6 percent (10-35) from the perimeter and 11-17 from the free-throw line. The major stat for the Raiders was they limited the number of turnovers to 12 and were able to convert the Jayhawks’ eight turnovers to points.
In the last three minutes of the game, the Jayhawks started to cut into the Raider lead, it went from as many as 20 to as few as nine points within the Raiders with around 90 seconds to play. That was Bronkema’s only complaint of his team tonight, they didn’t finish the game well.
“We played well,” Bronkema said. “We played well, for I’d say 37, 38 minutes, out of 40. Anytime you do that, when I say well I don’t mean we made shots, that always helps too. We played the brand of basketball that we teach so that’s always a positive.”
Wednesday’s win moves the Raiders to 7-4 in MCCAA Western Conference play and 15-7 overall on the campaign and into at least a share of third place in the division, barring the result of the Jackson Community College Jets and Lansing Community College Stars matchup.
The Raiders hit the road to Lansing to take on the LCC Stars at 3 p.m. on Sat., Feb. 10. The Raiders return home to face the Glen Oaks Community College Vikings with love in the air at 7:30 p.m. on Wed., Feb. 14.