By Shane Madden
The Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team notched their first win of the season against an aggressive St. Clair Community College team, outlasting the Skippers 89-84.
Redshirt sophomore guard Andrew Moore led the team with 24 points and spent most of his night in the lane and at the free throw line, where he shot 13-16. Freshman Rico Wade added 17 points on a fantastic shooting night, going 6-7 from the field and 3-4 from behind the arc. Redshirt freshman guard Justus Clark contributed 18 points with eight assists, pushing the ball for the fast-paced Raider offense and applying pressure to a slap-happy St. Clair defense.
The Raiders came ready to run.
“We are really looking to push the pace in transition and get up as many early (shot) clock looks as possible,” said head coach Joe Fox.
The Skippers saw a degree of success early on with their modified full court press, racking up eight first half steals. But that aggression allowed the Raiders to spend a majority of the first half shooting bonus free throws, and that trend would continue throughout the game.
Freshman forward Myron Brewer caught fire halfway through the first half, cashing in three big 3-pointers to attract the defense towards the perimeter, then attacking the harder closeouts for easy layups to the tune of 15 first half points.
“Myron was huge for us in the first half coming off the bench,” Fox said. He came in and scored 15 to catch us back up before (the) half. We have a game ball we give out afterwards and he got it.”
The second half played out much like the first, both teams playing fast paced offense while staying aggressive on defense, leading to fouls and the latter part of the game spent in the bonus.
Up three with 30 seconds to go, the Raiders defense got a quick stop, moved the ball up the floor to Wade, and pulled the trigger on a 15-foot jumper to seal the game.
Games with such high shot totals often come down to which team shoots the ball more efficiently. The Raiders outshot St. Clair by 10% from the field (52%), 20% from the free-throw line (76%), and hit 6 more three-pointers (8). St. Clair’s offense couldn’t keep pace.
“We’re really young, but these guys are so competitive,” Fox said. “We play a tough schedule, but even on the nights we face tough opponents, these guys come to play and are hard to beat.”
The Raiders are now 1-1 overall and will look to tally win No. 2 against Delta College Tuesday, Nov. 9 at the Gordon Hunsberger Arena. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 9:50 a.m. to update the headline photo.