Men’s basketball: MSJC gets off to rocky start against MiraCosta but ultimately wins 103-82)
■ By Corey Evan / Reporter
Every athletic club has their own ways of reminding its members about their core values. While many of those adorn the team’s locker rooms or home courts, the Mt. San Jacinto College men’s basketball team wears one of those reminders at every game: their uniforms. But would they do their uniforms justice on the evening of Friday, Feb. 8? With the MiraCosta Spartans in town, the Eagles knew they had a tough game ahead.
The Spartans showed they did their homework going into the first half, scoring the first five points of this match before the Eagles got on the board. Once the Eagles got going, they found themselves bumper-to-bumper on the scoreboard before MiraCosta picked up their speed and by the ten minute mark had left the Eagles with a double-digit deficit to make up. The Eagles struggled to keep pace for much of the half, until the last five minutes when they began to regain lost ground on the Spartans. After 20 minutes of gameplay, the Eagles had made this a one-point game, 42-41 with MiraCosta leading.
As the second half got going, the Eagles laid the pressure much thicker on the Spartans. Within five minutes, the Jac would have the lead for the first time this game. From there, the Eagles pushed ahead and grew their lead throughout the half. MiraCosta used the majority of their timeouts in this half in an effort to fight back. But this did nothing to stop the Eagles taking this game 103-82.
That’s not to say that coach Patrick Springer didn’t see much to improve on: “We went from… before January, before we left for break, being one of the best defensive teams in the state, to being one of the worst after January. We worked on defense all week, luckily it showed up in the second half. The reality is we’ve gotta guard better.”
Springer acknowledges a strong MiraCosta team, who performed well despite a pair of injuries on their team.
As for the uniforms, Springer says including the team mantra on them was not only a clever way to remind his Eagles what they’re playing for but readily available from the team’s supplier. If you look closely enough, the uniforms read “Defend, Rebound and Team Together.”
The top scorer for the Jac was Justin Holiday who dropped 23 in the net, followed by C.J. Hyder who was just one behind with 22, then David Thompson and Deshawn Millington who each chipped in 14. That kept Springer happy, as he says his Eagles rank among the top teams in the state in terms of scoring.
In the end, this game sees MSJC improve their Pacific Coast Athletic Conference North Division record to 4-2 and their season record to 19-4. MiraCosta are now 3-3 and 11-13.
The Eagles return to the Jac on the 22nd to finish out the regular season.