In what seemed like a blowout win up until the final minutes, the Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team rallied in a 92-88 win over Kellogg Community College on Jan. 27.
The first half began as a back-and-forth affair – neither team being able to establish a dominant lead early. Sophomore Johnny Davis (1) helped the Raiders build a 31-24 lead before the Bruins called a timeout – Davis finishing with a game-high 29 points and 7 rebounds. The Raiders began forcing turnovers, finished open looks in transition, and capped off the first half with sophomore guard Camren Spicer (0) converting an and-1 play that brought the lead to 51-39.
Once regular time resumed in the second half, Davis began feasting inside the painted area. After seven consecutive good looks that fell through the net, the Raiders were looking at a 63-45 advantage over the Bruins. The Raiders continued to roll until 10:30 marker during regular time.
Coming out of a timeout called by the Bruins, KCC dropped three consecutive three-pointers followed by sloppy ball-handling that led to four turnovers for the Raiders. Blown fast break points and continuous turnovers by the Raiders allowed the Bruins to chip away at their deficit and bring the game to 84-73. The final five minutes of regular time had Raider fans crossing their fingers, with the game being brought to 85-80 by a 32-22 scoring run by the Bruins. In the final minute, the Raiders showed their persistence by converting open layups and free-throws- closing the game with patience.
With the game on the line and the score at 89-88, freshman forward Chandler Collins (32) sunk two game-sealing free-throws with 13 seconds left in regular time. Collins also contributed 10 points, eight rebounds, and four blocks to the Raiders win. Collins shared what was going through his mind when stepping up to the free-throw line in the clutch.
“Taking my time and not stressing about it,” Collins said. “Just following through my routine.”
The Raiders were also led by freshman guard Darien Banks’ (5) contribution of 25 points, 3 assists, and four rebounds. Banks spoke on what has helped him continue his offensive tear in the past games for the Raiders.
“Staying ready and staying prepared,” Banks said. “Using my skills to my advantage and contributing.”
Head Coach for the GRCC men’s team, Jeff Bauer, commented on how the team plans to eliminate any reciprocation of the Raiders 25 turnovers (eight in the final five minutes of regular time) going forward in the regular season.
“We had a big lead and started throwing caution to the wind,” Bauer said. “We just have to be more poised. I think we’re doing great it’s just we need to slow down and enjoy the moment.”
Bauer also noted that “we have a lot of young guys. We just have to focus on maturity – a wins a win.”
The Raiders improved their record to 11-8, 9-1 at home, and hope to continue their win streak against Kalamazoo Community College on Jan. 29. The Raiders will have their next home game on Feb. 5 at 7:30 p.m. This game will follow the women’s game that begins at 5:30 p.m. Admission for the public is $3 and free for any individual with a GRCC student I.D.