Arabs snap two-game skid
Imperial Valley College's Brandon Newman dribbles past a Miramar College defender Wednesday at IVC. (IVC. FERNANDO ACOSTA JR. PHOTO)
The Arabs (18-6, 10-3 PCAC) had lost two straight conference games to fall out of first place since 6-foot-10 Josue Mulamba was dismissed from the team.
They had played poorly in a 24-point loss at MiraCosta and better — but not good enough — in a three-point loss to Grossmont.
The Jets (6-16, 5-9 PCAC) were the next test. There were undoubtedly many who wondered if IVC could win again this season without the big man.
“We proved them wrong tonight,” Brandon Newman said. “One player doesn’t make a team.”
The Arabs don’t have much size without Mulamba. They’ve had to change styles and played much of the game against Miramar with 6-foot-3 Darius Singletary their tallest player on the floor.
“We had to get used to the adjustment,” IVC coach Tyson Aye said. “It took us a solid week to do it. It’s a huge win. We had to get back to our winning ways. We’re still only two games out of first place (behind 12-1 San Diego City) and we play the team in front of us at home (on Feb. 15). We’ve still got the opportunity to win this conference.”
The Arabs used the advantages of quickness and ball handling to shoot a blazing 62.9 percent from the field. They were 34-of-59, 12-of-21 on 3-pointers. They also committed a season-low four turnovers.
“When we play five people (guards) like we did tonight, it’s going to be hard for people to guard us,” Aye said. “The reason we shot very well is we had guys giving up good shots to guys who had great shots.”
Newman scored 18 of his team-high 23 points in the second half. He’s been impacted by a torn tendon in his shoulder, a problem he’s had for many years that flared up two weeks ago.
“It’s painful,” Newman said. “But I had to step up. Coach (Aye) said I had to be a better leader and be more aggressive offensively. I tried to block out the pain.”
Newman made 8-of-16 from the field, 4-of-7 3-pointers, and was 3-of-5 at the free throw line. His wasn’t the hottest hand for the Arabs, but he made big baskets in a second half run that broke IVC out of a 48-48 tie.
Tyler Turner scored 17, making 4-of-7 field goals 4-of-6 3-pointers and 5-of-7 from the foul line. Melvin Cook was 5-of-6, 3-of-5 on 3-pointers, in scoring 13 points. Nate Williams was 5-of-5 from the field and 2-of-4 from the foul line in scoring 12.
Ryan Ena, IVC’s 6-foot-6 freshman center, played solid minutes in the post, scoring 16 points on 7-of-8 field goals and 2-of-4 free throws. He also had five rebounds.
Cook had missed the Grossmont game with the flu.
“I’m 100 percent healthy and I’m starting to get my whole game back,” Cook said.
Travis Alexander scored four points, Singletary had three points, four rebounds and five assists and Shawn Jones and Kris Cook each scored two.
Newman, posting up inside, scored a basket to put IVC up, 50-48. Turner followed with a pair of three pointers, Williams scored on a drive and Newman knocked down a 3-pointer to move the Arabs ahead, 61-52.
Miramar never got closer than five after that.
The Arabs’ next game is Friday at San Diego Mesa.