The Grand Rapids men’s basketball team returned to action on Wednesday, Jan. 4, and defeated DCCC in a back-and-forth battle with a final score of 93-80.
Prior to the matchup, GRCC head coach, Joe Fox, was confident that the team’s execution would not be affected by the time off.
“It can be difficult to have such a long layoff between games, but we had a strong break and feel like we’re in good playing shape,” Fox said. “The team needs to not try to do too much while also controlling what they can control.”
It’s been two games since the altercation that left seven GRCC players suspended, with six players returning to action and proved the team’s depth could slowly break down the opponent. However, the Raiders started off slow and faced a 9-2 deficit early in the first half. The Raiders fought back with good shooting and strong defensive possessions. Towards the end of the half, sophomore Myron Brewer hit back-to-back threes to give GRCC a seven-point lead. The Lions fought back to end the half while putting GRCC in an unfamiliar spot as the Raiders trailed 41-40 at halftime.
“Our depth allows us to be versatile and play different lineups that have different strengths,” Fox said. “Having versatility back really opened things up for us late in the game.”
The second half had a similar start to the first as the Lions kept the intensity up along with their lead. Each team went blow for blow throughout the second half which left the score at 73-67 with the Lions winning and time running out. However, the Raiders depth proved to be critical for the Lions when GRCC went on a 14-0 run to take a commanding lead and the game itself.
“The team did well having a next play mentality and not compounding mistakes,” Fox said. “That helped us settle in and get the job done, especially late in the game.”
Two players who returned from suspension that provided a spark for the Raiders are sophomore’s Danyel Bibbs and Herman Brown. Bibbs led the offensive attack with a near triple-double, putting up 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Brown made his impact felt on both sides of the ball scoring 21 points, securing 14 rebounds, dishing out seven assists, and getting four steals. Freshman Bashir Neely continued his hot-streak from the last game scoring 15 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Lastly, sophomore Diego Ledesma played in his first game of the season due to the NJCAA transfer rules, and put up eight points and three rebounds.
Coach Fox heavily praised his team for the comeback win but one player in particular stood out
“Herman was really impressive last night with the way he was able to display his full arsenal last night,” Fox said. “He led the team in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, and blocks which is phenomenal and it speaks to his consistent effort on the court.”
The Raiders increased their winning streak to eleven games with an 11-0 record on the season. The team gets a little time off before they travel to play Southwestern Michigan College on Saturday, Jan. 7, at 3 p.m.