Men’s hoops regroup with emphatic 95-64 win

February 9, 2016

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) men’s basketball coach Kenny Wade said he was interested in seeing how his team would respond Monday (Feb. 8) after suffering a bad Region X loss to Lenoir Community College over the weekend (Feb. 6).

The Patriots’ response was a loud one in Stone Hall against short-handed Guilford Tech. The No. 8 NJCAA, Division II men scored the most points in one half this season on its way to a convincing 95-64 Region X victory over the Titans. It also was the first time PHCC held an opponent under 70 points, the last time coming Jan. 20 in a nine-point win over Louisburg College.

PHCC scored 55 first-half points to take a 55-37 lead by intermission, as it was the most first-half points scored by the Patriots this season. They scored 50 in the first half Jan. 16 in a 96-88 win at Lenoir.

“We came out with a better focused mindset and needed to be more aggressive and play better on-ball defense,” freshman guard Thomas East said of the adjusted approach. “We were pretty lackadaisical last game and coach told us we needed to be more focused and go for the win.”

East (Virginia Beach, Va.) was one of three Patriot scorers in double figures, finishing with a team-high 16 points, 10 of them coming in the first half. He entered the game off the bench just two minutes in and his energy offensively helped spark an 18-6 run to provide the first initial wave of separation in the game.

PHCC (17-3, 10-2) had 11 different players score in the opening 20 minutes, as East was joined in double figures by Paris Jamison (Martinsville, Va.) and Henri Ventoniemi (Finland) with 10 points apiece. The Patriots shot 49 percent from the field and had 26 assists on 43 made field goals. Keyshawn Johnson (South Boston, Va.) along with freshman teammate Desmond Brogsdale (Hyattsville, Md.) each had six assists.

Overall, the Pats had all 14 players who entered the game score.

“When you have the balance where a team can’t focus on just or two people then you know the defense can’t cover just one spot (on the floor),” Wade said. “You see teams that have one main scorer all the time, they’re successful, but it’s a little easier to counter and stop.”

There was little stopping the high-scoring Patriots offense during the majority of the 40 minutes. Jacob Traore (Poitiers, France) scored two of his eight in the game late in the first half to push the lead past 20 for the first time at 48-27. It was much of the same in the second half as Ethan Adams (Hardy, Va.) used a posterizing two-handed dunk to excite the crowd and keep the lead above 20 with 10:30 to play. The lead eventually grew to 30 for the first time with 8 minutes left when PHCC looked to flirt with 100 points up 82-52.

“I thought we did well in the second half of playing solid defense and not allow the lead get to our heads,” East said.

The man-to-man defense, Wade said, looked more complete than in previous games. While he likes his straight man-to-man sets, Wade also acknowledged the solid job his team did in matchup zones. Jamison, he added, came off the bench and provided the energy needed to keep the pressure high.

The Patriots finished with 49 rebounds – 20 offensive – had 11 steals and four blocks.

“My main focus has always been on defense because I know our offense is going to score,” Wade said. “I keep preaching defense, defense, defense and I think we did that well for the majority of the game. We still have to clean up some things offensively and defensively. We need to take care of the basketball better and continue to rebound well.”

Guilford Tech played with just six players in the game.

The men head to the road Wednesday (Feb. 10) to take on Catawba Valley Community College for the first of two meetings with the Red Hawks. They return home Feb. 17 against Richard Bland College after finishing a two-game road trip Saturday (Feb. 13) against Louisburg College.

Filed under: Men's Basketball