Home Featured News Raiders win back and forth slugfest against Saints 99-95

Raiders win back and forth slugfest against Saints 99-95

Andrew Moore (3) attempting a pull-up jumper during the Aquinas JV matchup Nov. 15, 2021 (Kristen Schestag)

By Jackson Heiden

The Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team overcame a frustrating first half, beating Aquinas JV College 99-95 in overtime at home, to claim their third win of the season and first overtime victory of the season. The Raiders are now 3-2 overall.

“It’s a battle,” said GRCC head coach Joe Fox. “We’ve played five tie games. We lost one in the first game in double overtime, and we had a five-point lead, no overtime. I look up and we’re up five and I’m like ‘oh, deja vu,’ but no problem, the guys executed, and we really locked down defensively in overtime, and that’s what turned it around.”

The Raiders had an all-around team effort tonight as every one of their starters scored in the double digits. Redshirt-freshman guard Justus Clark scored 24 points along with six clutch free throws in overtime. Freshman forward Matthew Richards notched his third double-double of the season, putting up 14 points along with 15 rebounds. Redshirt-sophomore Andrew Moore put up 20 points along with four steals. Redshirt-freshman guard Brockton Kohler had a solid 16-point performance beside freshman guard Rico Wade who finished the night with 12 points. 

“It was a team effort the whole way,” Fox said. “There were little things here and there that stood out. I thought Javonte Jones in overtime was great and just the execution down the stretch by Justus Clark made some things happen.”

Rico Wade (11) driving against the Aquinas JV defense (Kristen Schestag)

The Raiders found themselves playing a game of catch-up throughout the first half, being down as much as 15 before the half. Wade and Clark had a nice little push at the end of the first half, scoring 12 combined points and giving the Raiders good momentum going into the locker room – alongside a (near) half-court heave at the buzzer by Kohler to put the Raiders within five.

“Aquinas is too good of a shooting team to assume anybody’s gonna miss like if we miss an assignment, they’re gonna punish us,”  Fox said. “That’s exactly what they did. In the first half, we would over help, they’d kick out and knock down a three. We would double team, they’d swing it to the open person and knock down a three.” 

The Raiders would come out exploding in the second half as they would go on a 12-5 run. That first run of the half would give them a two-point, 55-53 lead. Later on, in the half, the Raiders would go on a 17-4 run with a couple of steals and dunks by Moore and Kohler. By the end of the run, they would accomplish their largest lead of the night being up by 11. 

“We’re at our best more in transition and moving the ball,” Fox said. “Once we’re in transition, we pop that thing around (and) we get good looks, and so we’re a good shooting team when we get good looks.”

The Raiders would go on one more 12-3 run in overtime which would prove to be the determining factor of the game.

The Raiders will look to extend their winning streak to three Wednesday, Nov. 17 when they host Calvin JV at the Gordon Hunsberger Arena at 7:30 p.m.

“They are a really good JV team,” Fox said. “They bring a couple more varsity guys down and they really shoot the ball well.”

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