Patriots make defensive stand in 68-64 win

February 18, 2016

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Forced to turn up the heat defensively for 20 minutes, the Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) men’s basketball team did just that Wednesday (Feb. 17).

The Patriots (18-5, 11-4) used an 18-5 run to open the second half, erasing a nine-point halftime deficit to edge Richard Bland College, 68-64 for a Region X win. The victory earned the season sweep over the Statesmen (14-14, 8-8).

PHCC allowed only 10 points over the first 12 minutes of the second half, and following a Paris Jamison (Martinsville, Va.) bucket and free throw, the nine-point halftime spread was completely reversed. The sophomore led the Patriots off the bench with 15 points, 11 in the second half, on 6-of-9 shooting. Freshman Ta’vion Petty (South Boston, Va.) added 13 bench points on the strength of four 3-pointers as PHCC had 37 points come from its reserves.

Freshman point guard Keyshawn Johnson (South Boston, Va.) added 10 points and eight assists, while sophomore forward Jacob Traore (France) rounded out the double-figure scorers with 10 points, six rebounds and four blocks. The Patriots finished with 17 assists on 26 made field goals.

A Richard Bland 3-pointer to open the second half gave the Statesmen their biggest lead of the game at 40-28. The Patriots responded with a defense-infused 18-2 run over a seven-minute span. Johnson and Traore hooked up for a pair of buckets and Petty hit a 3-pointer, helping tie the game at 42. Johnson completed the run with an old-fashioned three-point play, and Jamison later pushed the lead to 11 with a string of seven points in four minutes.

“We played mainly straight man-to-man that entire second half,” PHCC head coach Kenny Wade said. “We knew they liked to shoot a lot of 3’s and they weren’t falling like they were in the first half. Defense is going to be the key to everything that we do; defense has got to start everything.”

Wade went to a more athletic man-to-man defense to start the second half pairing Johnson, Petty, Henry Butler (Culpeper, Va.), Shawn Duhon (Fenton, La.) and Traore. The Statesmen were forced to either shoot from the outside or penetrate through tight space in the lane. The unit was able to convert points off turnovers and get Richard Bland into foul trouble. Wade said the switch helped bring the type of defensive energy needed to change the momentum.

Up 10 points with a little more than four minutes in regulation, the Patriots had to fend off a late Statesmen charge. Sophomore Reginald Moses hit a 3 and turned a steal into a layup to make it a 64-62 game with just under two minutes to play. PHCC then closed the final minutes out at the line and made the right stops with rebounds to seal the victory.

Johnson said he expected a late run by the visitors. It took a little extra focus mentally, he added, to not fully let the lead the slip away.

“This win was huge. We came out and played much better defense (in the second half) than we did in the first,” Johnson said. “We got more rebounds and when we got the lead we took our time.”

Moses was Richard Bland’s top scorer with 15 points. No other Statesmen scorer reach double figures as Gevon Arrington and Gerard Dean-McBride each had nine.

The Statesmen managed just seven field goals in the second half and were held to 27 points.

Richard Bland jumped out to an early 16-6 lead seven minutes into the game. An 8-0 PHCC run, highlighted by a Jamison steal and dunk, made it 16-14 midway through the first half. Moses connected on a pair of three-point plays as the Statesmen pushed their biggest lead of the game to 12 before closing the half up nine.

The win snapped a two-game losing skid suffered last week which dropped the Patriots from the national rankings. They will take on Bryant & Stratton at 3 p.m. Feb. 20 in the second game of four at home to finish the regular season.

The game also features Patriot Appreciation Day. Free admission will be granted to all PHCC students, faculty and staff with IDs along with their families.



Filed under: Men's Basketball