The Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team came back from a 15-point deficit Feb 26. which helped translate to an 81-76 win over Kalamazoo Valley Community College. The Raiders finished the season series 2-0 against the Cougars, as this win helped them to clinch a playoff berth (sixth place in conference).
The Cougars began to pull away from the Raiders in the first half after overcoming a slow start. With a 38-23 lead for the Cougars and 4:39 left in the first half, the Raiders began to control the pace. Their offense cut into the Cougars’ lead 41-35 to end the half.
Sophomore forward Johnny Davis (16 points, 11 rebounds) and freshman forward Jaylen Williams (17 points, six rebounds) contributed to the Raiders comeback and spoke on what the team plans to continue as GRCC hosts the NJCAA District tournament that begins Mar. 3.
“We just want to play as hard as we can,” said Davis. “We know we can beat them (Mid Michigan), but it’s hard to beat a team three times – so we just have to go out there and get it (win).”
Davis was sidelined for the last three games due to illness. His presence on the floor was needed for the Raiders and Williams commented on that himself.
“Getting Johnny back was big,” said Williams. “He missed about three games from sickness so when we have our rotation players we’ll be fine.”
The Raiders took advantage of the paint in the second half, with contributions from freshman guard Darien Banks (nine points, four rebounds), freshman forward Herman Brown (12 points, five rebounds), and freshman forward Chandler Collins (nine points, five rebounds).
Even with huge contributions from five separate Cougars (combined 66 of 77 total points), the Raiders never lost the lead once they gained it after the 12:30 mark in the second half. Head Coach Jeff Bauer was making constant rotations – his first sub being made with only 46 seconds played in the game.
The rotations helped the Raiders store more energy as the game went down to the wire. They used their size and athleticism to control the glass (47 team rebounds), hold the Cougars to 40% from the field (36% behind the arc), and had composure at the free-throw line (80% overall) which helped the Raiders secure the win.
This win allowed the Raiders to snap their five-game losing streak at home (10-6) and finish the regular season 15-14 overall. Their first game in the NJCAA District tournament is March 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ford Fieldhouse against Mid Michigan College – losing the season series 0-2 against them. The women’s team will also have their first game at 7 p.m. Admission for the public is $8 and free for any individual with a GRCC student I.D.