By Kweisi Brown
The Brookhaven College men’s basketball team won 59-55 on the road against the Cedar Valley College Suns, improving their record to 13-12 and 3-2 in conference play.
Brookhaven won the tipoff and Bears guard Thuyler Hardy made a 3-pointer, scoring the first points of the game. Cedar Valley guard Larry Rusk Jr. answered with a 3 of his own to tie the game 3-3.
Bears guard Shawn Feggett was fouled and swished both free throws. Suns guard William DeGraftenreed III made a 2-pointer, followed by Bears guard Landen Stephens’ 3-pointer. Suns forward Ronnie Horner made a 2-pointer for the Suns. The Bears led 10-7.
Rusk scored and was fouled on and made the free throw, tying the game 10-10.
With the score tied, Bears guard Brian Liles drained a 3-pointer to give the Bears the lead 13-10. Bears forward Mark Mattiex connected from mid-range, extending that lead by 5 points.
The Bears’ tenacious defense raised problems for the Suns. After a turnover by the Bears, Suns guard Alphonso Hawkins was fouled.
After making both free throws, the Bears still led 15-13.
Bears guard Deamontae Hughes made a mid-range jumper, followed by a Liles 3. When the Bears got the ball again, Hughes connected on a 3 of his own to give the Bears a 10-point lead.
As the first half was ending, Hardy made a fast break lay-up. On the next possession, Hawkins scored.
With nine seconds left on the clock in the first half, Hughes got to the free throw line and made one of two free throws. Brookhaven led at the break 32-21.
Cedar Valley got possession to start the second half, but missed a jump shot.
Then Bears guard Kaland Johnson made a mid-range jumper for the first points of the second half. DeGraftenreed III drew a foul and made one free throw out of two attempts.
Then the Suns started to get back in the game. Rusk made a 3, and then DeGraftenreed III scored, cutting the Bears’ lead by 4 points.
The Suns eventually tied the game 46-46, and took a 1-point lead when Hawkins nailed a 3.
The Bears stayed composed, and Stephens hit a big 3 to take the lead back 55-52.After the Suns called a time out, with 33.7 seconds left, Hawkins missed a 3-point attempt and the Bears grabbed the rebound.
Cedar Valley was forced to foul, and the Bears made both free throws. “It was a rough game,” Stephens said. “But I hit the shot that counted. I missed a lot of shots tonight, but I knew that last shot was going in.”
Hughes said: “We started out strong in the first half, but as soon as we got in the second half we started to get a little sloppy on defense. As soon as coach called that time out, he talked about how we have to play good defense. So, we had to change it up a little bit.”
Bears head basketball coach Chris McGill said, “I think we played OK. It was like we weren’t aggressive enough … Hot in the gym, tired from a long day, we just have to be more aggressive.”