Home Featured News Raiders get a much needed victory over rival Muskegon Community College

Raiders get a much needed victory over rival Muskegon Community College

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Sophmore #3 Chris Coleman dunks in the second half vs. Muskegon Community College (Alena Visnovsky/The Collegiate).

After visiting Bay College on Saturday, the Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team returned to the Ford Fieldhouse to face Muskegon Community College on Wednesday, Feb.15. In a fast-paced game, the Raiders outlasted the Jayhawks 95-78 led by sophomore Myron Brewer.

Head coach Joe Fox was absent in Saturday’s game due to expecting a baby but was back to action against MCC.

“It was fun to be back on the sidelines,” head coach Joe Fox said. “I’m looking forward to getting my son to a game soon.”

Before the opening tip, the Raiders changed things up. They did not wear their typical white home uniforms and wore the blue uniforms. Muskegon requested a jersey change to stay with their white uniforms according to Fox. 

“It was a request of Muskegon’s to change our typical white uniform to blue. I’m not sure why, but we had both jerseys available so it was not a problem,” Fox said.

Another switch up was going with a small ball lineup to start the game, including sophomore guard Chris Coleman starting at the power forward spot. 

The Raiders started the game strong as they outshot the Jayhawks by 20% in the first five minutes of the game. Led by sophomore guard Brockton Kohler’s early five points the Raiders controlled a small lead by five points with 11:41 remaining in the first half. The game became fast-paced from this point on and some players off the bench gave a spark for the Raiders. Forward Myron Brewer and freshman guard Bashir Neely entered the game and made an immediate impact. Brewer was all over the court on both sides of the ball and Neely scored a few buckets in transition. The consistent offensive opportunities were possible because the Raiders defense completely slowed down the Jayhawks. GRCC led 23-14 as the Jayhawks were held to under 30% with nine minutes remaining in the half. 

“I feel like we picked it up in the second half but our defensive intensity really started early in the first half,” Coleman said. “Players like Myron and Jordan Houser really helped us out on that end.”

After the slight run for GRCC, MCC went on a run of its own and tied the game at 27 with five minutes left in the half. Sophomore forward Herman Brown stepped up in the last five minutes as he scored seven straight points for the Raiders. The Jayhawks answered anytime GRCC went on a slight run and took a 43-41 lead over the Raiders to end the half. 

“We didn’t make any significant adjustments, just little tweaks,” Fox said. “And we got Myron into the starting group after he had a great first half.”

Although the Raiders shot 47% in the first half, it was not enough to lead the Jayhawks so the defensive intensity needed to be elevated in the second half. Both teams traded buckets to start the half and it signaled another offensive half. The Jayhawks gained a 47-41 lead early in the second half, but the Raiders stepped up their defense for the rest of the game. GRCC switched to a full-court press, and as a result, the Raiders forced a few turnovers and changed the momentum of the game. 

“The full court press was planned heading into the game,” Fox said. “We have a lot of depth at guard and I think we can continue to pressure defensively.”

The Raiders battled their way to a 55-54 lead with 14 minutes remaining, but led by the full-court press, GRCC went on a 16-2 run led by sophomore’s Chris Coleman and Danyel Bibbs. Coleman nailed a few shots while Bibbs controlled the pace of the game on both sides of the ball. With 10 minutes left, the Raiders controlled an 11-point lead and maintained it for the rest of the game. Every single Raider who suited up played, which led to a 95-78 victory over the Jayhawks. 

In the second half, GRCC shot 20-36 (55.6%) from the field while scoring 54 second half points. The Raiders also held the Jayhawks to 35 points on 32% shooting from the field. 

Brewer believes teamwork was the reason the team gelled so well. 

“My teammates were the ones to set up the offense and get me in the right places,” Brewer said. “Without them, I wouldn’t have been getting the shots I wanted and our communication was much better this game.”

Multiple players stepped up for the Raiders in the victory including Brewer who had a team-high 19 points along with three assists. Bibbs and Coleman gave the Raider offense a boost, as Bibbs scored 14 points and seven assists while Coleman notched 13 points and two rebounds. Two big men for the Raiders, sophomore Isaac Warning and Herman Brown, solidified the victory as they controlled the paint for the majority of the game. Brown scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds while Warning grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds. 

Brewer said he felt like tonight was one of the best performances of the season because of the effort he put in.

“I think I played better because I was putting a lot of pressure on myself and overthinking about how good my performances should be before the game starts,” Brewer said. “Another one to add is that my defensive effort was a lot more intense this game compared to the recent games we’ve played.”

With the rivalry victory, the Raiders improved to 16-7 on the season and 5-5 in conference play. This marks the Raiders 10th home win of the season as they are 10-2 at Ford Fieldhouse. They return to action on Thursday, Feb. 16 when they face Aquinas College JV at 6:30 p.m. at the Ford Fieldhouse. 

“It feels like our team chemistry has gotten a lot better and our trust that we have for each other is showing on the court. It is good to see how the hard work we put in practices is getting the results we want and seeing things we need to work on to improve as a team,” Brewer said.

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