By Sean Chase
The Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team traveled to Centreville, Michigan Friday, March 6 where they dominated the Vikings of Glen Oaks Community College winning 70-45. Their overall record now stands at 3-2.
The Raiders were without sophomore Malik Clincy, who was serving a one-game suspension after receiving two technical fouls and an ejection against Mott Community College on Wednesday, March 3. In his absence, GRCC’s defense stepped up against Glen Oaks.
“We were a little undermanned there, but other guys stepped up,” said Jeff Bauer, head coach for the GRCC men’s basketball team. “I thought we really really did a good job defensively. We held them to 45 points, 21 in the first half, 24 in the second and that just kinda set the tone. (Glen Oaks) really couldn’t do anything that they wanted to do because our guys did a really good job.”
With Clincy being unavailable, sophomore Isaac Anderson knew he had to step up to help supplement the loss of offensive firepower.
“I knew with Malik being out, I was going to have to attack early and be aggressive, not passive, because (he’s) a big part of our offense,” said Anderson. “I knew going into the game, I was going to get to the basket and create for others.”
GRCC took control of the game early, as Anderson and sophomore Chandler Collins’ strong efforts on the offensive glass helped the Raiders get out to a 7-4 lead. The Vikings made things interesting as they cut the GRCC lead to one-point. However, just as it seemed the Raiders were in for a long night. Their shots began falling which Bauer’s squad capitalized on, quickly turning their small lead into a 12-point advantage with five minutes left in the first half of play.
Glen Oaks tried to stay with the Raiders as halftime neared, drawing back within seven of GRCC. But Anderson was able to convert back-to-back layups to send GRCC into the locker room up by 11.
Once play resumed GRCC continued their dominating performance, as sophomore Darien Banks, freshman Dasani Darnell, Collins and Anderson all pitched in to grow the Raider lead to 23 points with seven minutes left in the game.
From that point on, the Vikings hopes of making the game interesting drastically faded as GRCC continued applying pressure defensively. Resulting in a decisive 70-45 win for the Raiders, their first road win of the season.
After the game, Bauer spoke with The Collegiate about the leadership shown by Anderson and sophomore Richard Major.
“They were huge,” said Bauer. “Isaac has done a good job. He’s picking up stuff now, he’s kinda being more comfortable on where and when he can attack and when he should attack. Obviously, he’s a very gifted rebounder, so as he gets more comfortable running our team it gives us another calming presence. Him and Rich Major, who’s been doing a phenomenal job coming off the bench for us, just giving us a steady hand and Rich is always in the right spot, doing the right things for our team. So he continues to be a big, big piece for us.”
Defensively after falling flat against Mott, Bauer entrusted Collins with a lot against Glen Oaks and he didn’t disappoint.
“(Collins), he had a rough game on Wednesday against Mott,” said Bauer. “He was scoreless, he didn’t finish real well. This game he kinda bounced back and did a lot of nice things. He’s probably one of our better finishers around the rim, he takes his time and powers it up there. He played really good on defense. He guarded their best player, their top scorer, and really did a good job of shutting him down, too.”
Anderson, starting in his second game for the Raiders, recorded a double-double in the contest with 20 points, 18 rebounds and four assists. GRCC also received contributions from Collins (13 points, nine rebounds, three steals, two assists and one block), sophomore D’Avery Moore (nine points, four rebounds and one assist), freshman Brockton Kohler (eight points and one assist), Banks (seven points, one assist and one steal), Darnell (five points, four rebounds and one steal), freshman Azyah Brown (four points, four rebounds and one block) and sophomore Aaron Tomlinson (two points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal).
Next, the Raiders will head back home to the Gordon Hunsberger Arena, where they’re currently undefeated this season, to face the Pioneers of Delta College on Wednesday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m. which will be available to live-stream on the GRCC Athletics Youtube channel.
“We’ve gotta sit back, look at the tape and dissect our last game and what we need to work on, and at the same time Delta is coming in on Wednesday and they’ll be ranked,” said Bauer. “Our next three opponents are gonna be ranked in the top-twenty, we’re very thankful to be playing obviously, but our schedule this year is a murderer’s row.”
Anderson acknowledged how talented Delta is, but believes GRCC will be ready when the time comes.
“We just gotta execute our offense and play great defense,” Anderson said. “I know we’re gonna come ready to play. That beatdown against Mott, that was not how our team is at all. That was probably our worst game of the season. We’re gonna bounce back for the rest of the season and show everybody what we can do.”