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Raiders men’s basketball wins home opener

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After losing their first game of the season against No.1 ranked Mott Community College, the Grand Rapids Community College Raiders Basketball team defeated Aquinas College 76-63 on Nov. 5. The win was their first of the season and improved their record to 1-1.

The Raiders came out of the gates sluggish, turning the ball over on their first two possessions, but quickly pulled it together.

Aquinas College jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but Raiders answered back by scoring six straight baskets to take the lead. The game was back and forth, neither team giving an edge in the first half.

The Raiders smothered Aquinas on defense, forcing turnover after turnover. The Raiders held a two point lead at halftime 35-33.

“We had to get on the same page out there,” said Head Coach T.J. Carnegie. “We would have three players playing well then two players a little off. We just had to get on the page in the second half.”

The Raiders did just that going on a 20-7 run to push the lead to 55-40 within the first five minutes of the second half. Their defensive intensity increased, and the Raiders piled up steal after steal. The Raiders finished the game with 17 steals. The defensive outbreak allowed the Raiders to get out into transition and control the tempo of the game.

“We just picked up the defensive pressure in the second half,” Carnegie said.

Aquinas gave a valiant effort, cutting the Raiders’ lead to 58-52, but the Raiders quickly answered with a 13 -4 run to stretch the lead to 71-56.

The Raiders bench helped wear down Aquinas by scoring 41 points as a unit. Freshman Chris Mickey led the way with 17 points off the bench. He was also the leading scorer. Sophomore Alex Mustert chipped in with 10 points.

Freshman Daryl White had six steals and freshman Kevin Badger added five steals.

The Raiders also played an unselfish game by gaining 20 assists. White accounted for five assists, and Badger gave them another six. The Raiders grabbed 45 rebounds and shot 42 percent from the field for the game. They shot 64 percent from the free throw line.

“We need to work on our free throws and our consistency,” Coach Carnegie added. “We have a lot of freshmen, and we can’t afford to go on a roller coaster ride”.

The Raiders will face Indiana Tech Saturday at 1 p.m. in hopes of adding another “W” to the win column and improve to 2-1 on the season.